Momofuku Milk Bar in San Francisco: Christina Tosi at Omnivore Books

Christina Tosi, pastry chef of Momofuku Milk Bar stopped by San Francisco’s Omnivore Books on her book tour bringing conversation, cookies, birthday crumb, and cornflake crunch.  She told the story about conceptualizing Momofuku Milk Bar with David Chang as a modernized Dairy Queen, updating classic American flavors with a new voice.  She described the process behind coming up with new recipes and how it was part conceptual, part serendipity, and part practicality in working with what is available, whether on an island (compost cookies) or from your refrigerator (crack pie).  She described the development of crumbs and crunches, little “pops” of flavors and textures that could be deployed in cookies, cakes, and plated desserts.  She said the Momofuku way was to not put something on a menu unless it was absolutely delicious and the chef would stand behind it 100%.  It was inspiring to hear this philosophy, which has probably played a big role in how fast the Milk Bar concept has spread in the past three years, from Chef Tosi fighting for open prep space at Ssam Bar to an operation with fifty employees, four locations in New York, and now a new cookbook. It was interesting to hear how they had to balance their menu to meet space and operational constraints, satisfy their returning customers, while also trying to add new or seasonal items.  She said they are always innovating – she described a Thanksgiving croissant that sounded delicious – layering the dough with a compound butter made with stuffing spices, then stuffing the croissant with dark and white meat turkey and cranberry sauce.  She was quite generous in bringing samples of birthday crumb, milk crumb, and cornflake crunch, as well as the famous cookies and stayed quite a while to sign books and talk with people.  A very nice event.

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