In The Kitchen With Kara: Mastering Macarons

Urban Farmer, Cleveland’s Steakhouse, Cleveland, OH

In The Kitchen With Kara: Mastering Macarons

As we have recently hosted Macaron Masterclass at Urban Farmer, we thought it would be a good time to get to know the Master behind our macarons, and all things pastry – Chef Kara Swortchek.

 

In case you missed hearing about it, or attending, Macaron Masterclass provided attendees the opportunity to join Chef Kara, at Urban Farmer, to learn the art of making French macaron shells and buttercream filling. The hands-on experience included assembling macarons, enjoying samples prepared by Chef Kara, and macarons to take home, as well. The first class was held February 24th and, due to popular demand, a second class was scheduled for March 3rd.   It seems that everyone loves macarons! And on that note, we asked Pastry Chef Kara for her insight on the delicate treats and a bit about herself in a recent “interview.”

Why are macarons so popular?

Chef Kara: They’re an appealing treat from multiple aspects for a multitude of people. They’re pretty to look at, are adaptable to many flavor combinations, and in their original form, one of the only desserts to be naturally gluten-free

 

How does macaron-making compare to say cookie, pie or cake baking?

Chef Kara:  Macarons require patience and can be intimidating because they are susceptible to mistakes in time and handling. Once you know the pitfalls and how to set yourself up for success, they can be a lot of fun to make.

 

What makes a good macaron?

Chef Kara:  A great macaron is crisp on the outside, with a smooth shell, and chewy on the inside, with a flavorful filling.

 

What flavors are popular now?

Chef Kara:  The classic flavors are always in style, like Pistachio, Lemon, and Salted Caramel. And, there are more adventurous flavors like Hot pepper, Honey lavender, and Lychee.

What can attendees look forward to in your macaron classes?

Chef Kara:  Guests will learn what not to do when making a batch of French macarons, where they could be going wrong, and how to fix their mistakes when possible.

 

How did you become a pastry chef?

Chef Kara:  When I was little, I always told my Mom that I was going to be a “Cooker” when I grew up. I started out in the industry as a short-order cook, working in mom & pop places (I can sling eggs with the best of them).  I attended the local vocational school (Lorain County JVS) learning Culinary Arts and chose to pursue a degree in Baking in Pastry Arts when I left for college. I attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI on a FCCLA (Family, Career, Community Leaders of America) Scholarship and attained a Bachelor’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts, with a concentration in Leadership. I’ve worked in multiple applications of the industry – from a truck stop, to a hospital, to a luxury resort. I’ve lived in five states and worked my way from an intern, to a pastry cook until I finally got my first Pastry Chef position, a few years out of college.

What is your favorite dessert to eat?

Chef Kara:  Ice cream sandwiches. I could eat them every day.

 

What is your day to day like?

Chef Kara:  I spend my days strategizing and organizing with my team, handing out prep work, and keeping up with costing, ordering and inventory. I also come up with ideas to incorporate new techniques, attend necessary meetings, and help my staff with any issues that may arise.

What led you to Urban Farmer?

Chef Kara:  I started at Urban Farmer as a pastry cook.   I had only been looking for a part time position and I really liked the concept, specifically working with locally sourced products. It’s rare to find places that make their own breads and desserts anymore, let alone a place that believes in sustainability. It turned into a great match for me, and I was promoted to pastry chef within the first year.

To learn more about Urban Farmer classes and the team, please follow us on Facebook.

For those who attended Macaron Masterclass, we hope you are practicing the skills you learned at home! Please share photos of your macaron creations on Instagram by tagging #ufmacaron so we can see your progre

        

Find Us in February

Urban Farmer, Cleveland’s Steakhouse, Cleveland, OH

Find Us in February

Urban Farmer will be about town this month and we hope to see you!

With the start of a new year, we are excited to offer opportunities for you to experience Urban Farmer in new ways and the chance for us to support our community.  This month, we will be participating in Donut Fest and Passport to Cleveland, as well as hosting a macaron class.

Maybe you have enjoyed our steaks or lunch in the past but you haven’t tried our brunch, enjoyed our appetizers, or attended a class. This month is for you!

On February 10th Urban Farmer will be participating in Donut Fest Cleveland. This is the second year for this sellout event and we are excited to be a part of it. Join us, along with the best bakers and finest coffee purveyors in Cleveland, at RED SPACE for the best donuts and joe samples. Pastry Chef Kara has some exciting donut creations in the works that you won’t want to miss.

On February 23rd we’ll participating in the CLEseats Passport to Cleveland, at Lago Events.  Urban Farmer, along with over 20 local restaurants, will be providing samples and a great start to the weekend. Not only will you have a chance to try one of Chef Vishu’s delicious appetizers; there will be live music from the Big Bang Dueling Pianos!

Last, but not least, we’ll be hosting Macaron Masterclass with Pastry Chef Kara Swortchek on February 24th at Urban Farmer.  Participants will learn the art of making French macaron shells and buttercream filling during this fun hands-on experience. During class, attendees will make and assemble macarons, enjoy samples prepared by Chef Kara and also get to take macarons home to enjoy!

We hope to see you at some of these exciting events and look forward to sharing more with our Cleveland community.

Happy Chocolate Month

Urban Farmer may be known for our local farm to table dinner entrees, but February, also known as; “Chocolate Month” puts a little shine on our pastry department. Pastry Chef Kara makes all desserts in-house, and they don’t just limit our guests to decadent chocolate either! Kara has the same focus as our other chefs; bringing local options to her dessert menu. One of our guest’s favorite is our Ohio Apple Gallete and topped with Chili Maple Ice Cream! But if you’re in the mood for some chocolate on this lover’s month, stop in for our chocolate fondue for two, or our Eight Layer Torte filled with chocolate dacquoise, mint mouse and fudge. Our torte is definitely enough for two, but we don’t judge if you order one for each guest. Our dessert menu is not the only thing you’re limited too, you can have a cake made by Chef Kara and her team as well. Celebrate any occasion and they will design the cake for your needs!

Our pastry department doesn’t stop there! Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in a commercial kitchen? Chef Kara offers pastry classes year round for our guests. You can learn the basics of pastry skills, designing cakes, making recipes in large batches and much more! See what some of our guests have said in the past about our classes:

Baking Valentine’s Day Cakes at Urban Farmer Cleveland

Cake Decorating Class at Urban Farmer

We wish all of our guests a very happy Valentine’s Day and Chocolate Month, Don’t forget to treat yourself!