Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

Working from Memory Best of Flavor 2017

Gripper’s Grail with homemade chocolate and caramel ice cream, passionfruit sorbet, homemade marshmallow fluff, caramelized banana, chocolate mousse, crunchy meringue

Josh Gripper

Executive Pastry Chef Josh Gripper serves up cherished memories with his version of a favorite family dessert. His Uncle Donnie used to make a banana pudding for family functions. “It is something I still look forward to,” says Gripper. “The execution is as traditional as it gets: vanilla pudding with fresh bananas, vanilla wafers and whipped cream. It’s one of those things that’s so tasty, you just can’t stop eating it.”

He wanted to bring this nostalgic flavor experience onto his menu at The Dutch, the New American spot inside the W South Beach Hotel. “My goal was to take that memory and try to reproduce it,” he says. “I wanted to make a dessert that is recognizable, but with a twist—very American and addictively tasty. That’s what led me to create this new version of the banana cream pie. It became an instant classic.”

The Gripper’s Grail dessert is made for two. A chocolate brownie is topped with scoops of chocolate and caramel ice cream, as well as passionfruit sorbet. “It’s topped with an Italian meringue, which is torched for a toasted marshmallow flavor,” he says. “Feuilletine flakes, tempered chocolate leaves and brûléed bananas finish it off, with chocolate sauce drizzled tableside.” The dessert has a cult following, says Gripper. “I took it off the menu once, and people didn’t understand why I would do such a thing. It came back a few weeks later and has never left again.”

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