For Small Pleasures, pastry chef Tracy Obolksy presents a collection of her coveted mini-pastries, derived from vivid memories of more kid-friendly flavors such as a Creamsicle Ice Cream Sundae and Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch Cake.
Recently, Nodus Living had the opportunity to chat with Obolksy, pastry chef at Chelsea’s famed Cookshop, about nostalgia for childhood treats and her unconventional path to pastry stardom. Her work has been featured in publications such as Food and Wine Magazine, Savuer.com, The Epoch Times, NYTimes, The Wallstreet Journal, Tasting Table.com, VillageVoice.com, and Bloomberg.com.
nodusLiving: What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
Tracy Obolsky: I find creativity in everything around me, but I especially like to sit with a pile of cookbooks and just geek out with recipe ideas and note them down as I go. I also try to experience eating as much of other artists baked goods as well
nL: Was there a specific moment when you first knew that you wanted to become an artist/designer?
TO: I've always had a high-energy, creative outlook on things, so I always knew I would end up doing some form of work that wouldn't confine me to a desk.
nL: Who is the single largest influence on your creative practice? Why?
TO: My late grandmother. Often, I use her original recipes as a starting point to a new nostalgic dessert or pastry I want to create.
nL: What recent creative work has had the most substantial impact on yours?
TO: The Edgemere Farm in Far Rockaway locally grows beautiful produce that inspires me. I get very excited thinking outside the box on how to incorporate certain savory items for quiche as well as not-so-household fruits like gooseberries for danishes.
nL: What is in your bag right now?
TO: Headphones, a Kind bar, my wallet, a phone, pen, moleskin, chapstick, and sunglasses.
nL: Thanks, Tracy!
Tracy Obolsky is the pastry chef at Cookshop, the celebrated Chelsea restaurant from Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, where her new dessert menu demonstrates her playful approach to classic desserts and complements Meyer’s dedication to sustainable local ingredients.
Obolsky’s unlikely path began during her pursuit of an art career. After graduating in 2004 from Pratt Institute with a BFA in Illustration, Obolsky began experimenting with her grandmother’s dessert recipes as a creative outlet. Through this, she discovered her passion for pastry. After graduating from the French Culinary Institute in 2007, she went on to work at Borough Food and Drink, Madison and Vine, Mario Batali’s Esca, and Danny Meyer’s North End Grill where she earned Star Chef’s “Rising Star Pastry Chef for NYC” award. She has also created all the flavor’s for General Greene’s Green Ice Cream which the New York Times declared “the holy grail of all ice creams in New York City.”