L.A.’s Sally Camacho, the pastry chef of Wolfgang Puck’s haute Asian downtown restaurant WP24, is about to star as one of the 14 contestants on season two of Top Chef Just Desserts. The show premieres August 24 on Bravo with Gail Simmons returning as host.
Expect ice cream, Camacho's favorite dessert, to be on her menu, along with dishes with, no surprise, an Asian twist. The essential ingredients the pastry chef always keeps on hand are black forbidden rice and pandan leaves, plus palm sugar, agar and 100 percent chocolate. Right now at WP24 (900 West Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles), Camacho — who’s also worked at The Wynn Resort and award-winning restaurant Bradley Ogen— is serving up such items as cinnamon brown butter cake and passion fruit semi freddo.
The first season of Top Chef: Just Desserts, produced by Magical Elves, averaged 1.9 million total views and 1.2 million views 18-49. It runs 10/9C on Bravo.
THR spoke with Camacho about what's keeping her sweet tooth happy right now.
What is your most popular dessert at WP24? Marjolasian — layers of dark chocolate, white espresso mousse, cashew nougatine and coffee ice cream. (Pictured below)
What are three or four great desserts at other places around town right now?
Spago’s Kaiserschmarrn — it’s an Austrian dessert made with crème fraîche pancakes and fruit. It’s a Spago classic (176 N. Canon Dr., Beverly Hills). I had it 10 years ago and fell in love with it instantly. Osteria Mozza (6602 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles) has this amazing peach dessert with a hazelnut brown butter cake and fresh blueberries from the farmer’s market. At Red Medicine (8400 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly HIlls) I love the white chocolate frozen Muscat grape dessert served with a zucchini cake.
What is a dessert that takes you back to your childhood? Donuts.
What are some surprising ingredients people are using in desserts these days and why do they work? I’m not sure if this is common, but I’ve seen a lot of smoked things in desserts—it could be anything from a piece of a cigar or smoking a piece of fruit or a cake. It works because it’s different and brings in a savory application to pastry. I’ve seen innovative pastry chefs cross savory and sweet flavors in their desserts, but the end result has to complement the restaurant.
What’s on your menu right now that’s new and amazing? Market white corn fritters with pandan ice cream and powder blueberries from Murry’s Farm. They are called powder blueberries because they look like they have powder on them!
Best place for a birthday cake? WP24! I make the best birthday cakes!
What are you planning for fall? Apples are a staple for the fall. I use different types of apples-- Granny Smith and Fuji are my favorites. I may create a new take on an apple pie or an apple crumble; and pair with unique flavors like celery and fennel.
Where is a good place to shop for Asian dessert ingredients in LA? 99 Ranch.
You love making ice cream, what is a favorite take-out place for gelato or ice cream in LA? I think for the best ice cream in LA you have to order mine! I don’t buy it from anywhere else. Preorder it from WP24.