Houston chef Ryan Hildebrand and his team at Triniti recently announced plans to open a new restaurant/bakery —FM 903 —in the fall of next year. Since its opening nearly two years ago, Triniti has inspired extensive culinary acclaim, especially for its well-executed pastry and dessert menu. The refined, final-course program is crafted by young gun Samantha Mendoza, who recently announced plans to host weekly Saturday bakery pop-ups at Triniti until FM 903 opens in the fall of 2014.
Here, the 24-year-old pastry chef talks pastries, pop-ups, and her favorite dessert.
Layne Lynch: You’ve been at Triniti for a while now. What do you feel has made the pastry team garner so much local and national attention?
Samantha Mendoza: As soon as I took over the pastry program completely, I knew that I wanted to make it really special. I worked hard to stand out and always make sure everything was made in house. It’s been tough trying to control everything from bread, molded chocolates, and desserts all in one day in the same kitchen, which when you work with bread and chocolate the temperature is not so great because of the Houston humidity. I push myself every day with competing in New York and Atlanta and running our pastry program at the same time. The 903 Bakery is going to be a big challenge since I’ll be running Triniti’s pastry program at the same time. I look forward to it all.
LL: What has been your favorite pastry dish you’ve featured thus far?
SM: Our fall menu just rolled out a few weeks ago and it has one of my favorite dishes I have made thus far. It’s called Inaya Fondant. Basically, I did my own take on a warm chocolate cake and made it into something totally unexpected; it has foie gras powder, currant sheet, toasted brioche, fondant, candied cayenne pecans, and brioche ice cream.
LL: What are some of the treats you’ll be featuring at FM 903’s pop-up bakeries? Any reason why you specifically selected those pastries and desserts?