Chef's Corner: Q&A with John Kraus of Patisserie 46
Patch's Ashle Briggs Horton sits down with John Kraus to talk pastries, guilty pleasures and bone-chopping revelations.
Named not once but twice as one of the "Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America" by Pastry Art and Design Magazine, and awarded a healthy dose of other lofty awards in the food world, it's safe to say John Kraus could have opened his patisserie just about anywhere he wanted. Fortunately for us, the soft spoken but passionate pastry chef chose Southwest Minneapolis as the home for his new Patisserie 46. Kraus recently sat down with Patch to chat about his proudest moment as a pastry chef, the importance of family, and what puts the Kentucky in a Kentucky Pecan Pie.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: You were most recently working in Chicago. Why Minneapolis and why this neighborhood?
John Kraus: This is a family business - a lot of it had to do with family. My wife's family is from here, so that was the catalyst. I taught a class here about four years ago and I really enjoyed it. It's a beautiful city. I'm from Kentucky, so I needed a place that felt a little like that. Then we started driving around the lakes, and I said, "That's it. We're gonna stay."
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What is your favorite dessert this time of year?
John Kraus: Apple pie.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What holiday desserts will you be making at home this year?
John Kraus: We're going to do a Kentucky Pecan Pie. For Christmas, we'll do a buche de noel and a galette.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What makes the pecan pie Kentucky?
John Kraus: Bourbon.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What dessert should our readers be sure to include at their holiday parties?
John Kraus: A buche de noel is really special. We'll have three different kinds [at Patisserie 46].
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: Conversely, what desserts should our readers keep off the holiday party tables?
John Kraus: Nothing. Everything serves a purpose. Anything that's prepared well, with a little soul.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What inspires you as a chef?
John Kraus: Everything. Family, kids, grocery store shelves - everything around. The seasons, obviously. Local ingredients are big.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: You've been open for several months now. What's your long term vision for Patisserie 46?
John Kraus: That it's the neighborhood place - that in 20 years, the little kids we see are showing up with their girlfriends and boyfriends.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: When did you know you wanted to become a pastry chef?
John Kraus: One night I was in the basement of the Dorchester [Hotel in London] chopping up bones and I started talking to the bakers. I asked if I could stay and ended up working almost 24 hours. I never looked back. It was a pivotal moment.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: Name one ingredient you would be lost without.
John Kraus: Salt.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: You've won your fair share of awards. What has been your proudest moment as a pastry chef?
John Kraus: The day we opened. And I still haven't had a chance to sit back and go, "We're really doing this," but every day is incredible.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: What was your favorite food as a child?
John Kraus: Soft pretzels - and the barbecue sandwich from Starnes Barbecue.
Southwest Minneapolis Patch: When it comes to food, what is your guilty pleasure?
John Kraus: It's kind of a toss up - pizza or bacon, one of the two.