F&W Exclusive: An Early Look at Dominique Ansel Kitchen

Courtesy of Ethan Hill
By Kate Krader Posted January 08, 2015

Here's a little exclusive intel on Dominique Ansel Kitchen, the pastry-centric restaurant opening this spring in New York's West Village. It turns out Ansel has an unlikely inspiration for DAK: the Lower East Side institution Katz’s Delicatessen

Such great news about Dominique Ansel Kitchen. The extraordinary baker opens his pastry-centric restaurant this spring in New York's West Village, where he'll fold chocolate mousse to order and stuff mille feuille with custard just before he serves them to customers. Here's a little more exclusive intel.

It turns out Ansel has an unlikely inspiration for DAK: the Lower East Side institution Katz’s Delicatessen. The idea came about in part when a manager from his upcoming Tokyo shop was visiting from Japan. Ansel tells the story: “I wanted him to see a true New York establishment, so I took him to Katz’s. We were waiting in line behind 10 people for 15 minutes. When we got to the counter, they freshly sliced the meat and handed me a sample. The beef was so juicy and so tender. It’s the way pastrami is meant to be. I really appreciated that taste, and it inspired me to do a bakery where people can eat pastries that same way—freshly prepared and not something that has sat in a window all day.”

Ansel is further hyped about details of his new kitchen. At his SoHo shop, the Cronut lines are endless, but the work space is tiny. “It’s probably 10-feet-by-10,” Ansel says. “We have teams rotating around one table 24 hours a day to make the croissants, the cronuts, the ice cream.”

In contrast, the kitchen at DAK will be "like Versailles,” Ansel says. “At least for us.” At his new space, Dominique will have a three-story, 2,500-square-foot kitchen outfitted with some very cool tools: a macaron repositer, which pipes out precise rounds of cookies as well as éclairs; a dough sheeter to produce uniform layers of dough; and a huge, computerized oven that’s about as big as Ansel’s SoHo Kitchen.

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