In the past, Japanese restaurants weren’t known for their exquisite pastries. Some citrus might show up at the end, perhaps, or maybe there would be green tea ice cream.
However, modern Japanese restaurants are just as interested in serving top-notch desserts as, say, a French restaurant. Along those lines, KUU has hired former Artisans pastry chef Karla Espinosa for her modern takes on desserts. Espinosa has also worked as one of the original pastry chefs at Tout Suite, which is known for its wide range of macarons and other desserts.
According to a press release, Espinosa’s grandfather was a baker and she inherited some of that talent, winning a culinary competition that secured an internship at Taberna del Alabardero Resort Hotel in Marbella, Spain. She earned a master of molecular cuisine degree from Instituto Mausi Sebess in Buenos Aires, Argentina, graduating with “Best In Class” honors.
After working as the pastry chef at La Huasteca in Los Angeles, she moved to Houston. Her first job here was in the pastry department of Cullen’s.
Espinosa has already created several sophisticated plated desserts for KUU just in time for autumn. These include “Kuro to Shiro” (which means “black and white”) with yuzu, black sesame ganache, white truffle ice cream, chocolate “snow” sesame glass and vanilla-olive oil gel, as well as "Ochimasu," a dessert specially for the fall season with white chocolate mousse, cinnamon crumble, ginger jelly, candied pecans, yuzu curd, yuzu caramel and butternut squash sorbet
Replacing Espinosa at Artisans is Christine Sterling. Sterling has worked on pastries at Artisans for the past year and is a graduate of Le Cordon Blue in Austin. She says new desserts are under development for the fall, although the French restaurant will be keeping certain longtime customer favorites.