Christina Tosi cut her teeth at molecular gastronomy shrine WD-50 and refined French restaurant Bouley before jolting New York’s collective sweet tooth as pastry chef at Momofuku Milk Bar. At the dessert annex to David Chang’s savory Momofuku empire Tosi crafts fancifully irreverent treats like Crack Pie and Compost Cookies (a medley of pretzels, potato chips and coffee among other incongruous ingredients). She was named Rising Star Chef of the year at the 2012 James Beard Foundation Awards, and will prompt a Hamptons-wide sugar high at Milk Bar’s new Montauk branch this summer.
How did you begin your culinary career?
I have been obsessed with cookie dough since I was a chubby little kid.
How do you compare working at a standalone bakery to a full-fledged restaurant?
We face different hurdles and challenges with food and service at Milk Bar as compared to a more typical restaurant, though the end goal is always the same: serve the most delicious food possible and have a point of view.
Are there any desserts you’ve come up with on your own that are too crazy even for the unorthodox Milk Bar menu?
It happens all the time. The most difficult one for me to let go was an American cheesecake with a Ritz cracker crust and a green tomato sorbet. I was about the only one who thought it was a deliciously great idea.
Are there any items unique to the Montauk branch that were inspired by the East End?
We’re serving slushies out in Montauk along with some of our favorite and most popular Milk Bar fare. Our slushies (available in Cereal Milk, Arnie Palmer and Stumptown Coffee) are our homage to Milk Bar on the beach. We were very much inspired to make a twist on a milkshake, taking nods from our favoite beach drinks (blended margaritas, slurpees and sno cones).
When you’re not at a Momofuku restaurant, where are we most likely to spot you having a meal out?
I love to try new places, and try not to visit the same place twice. However, I love eating at Mission Chinese and Caracas at least once a week!
What’s your favorite drink?
Gin & Tonic
What’s your favorite pastime?
I love to run. I also love to bring my pups on long walks.
How do you expand a restaurant while maintaining its distinctive quality, and where might Milk Bar land next?
We look at each Milk Bar store as an extension of ourselves and what we create in terms of food. We have a basic formula of what we think “makes” a Milk Bar and create from there, drawing on the neighborhood, etc. That said, I have no idea where Milk Bar might land next!