Houston’s Most Instagrammable Desserts Come From a Pastry Chef Who Embraces the North
How One Man Turned a Woodlands Resort Into a Dessert WonderlandBY Megan Forgey // 03.08.19
Chef Ryan Witcher's chocolate cake is famous for a reason.
Did you know beets and chocolate could go together so well?
The chef's latest desserts are as innovative as his many others.
Chef Ryan Witcher's Texas Two-Step Donut Sundae is a major claim to fame.
Strawberry shortcake never looked so good.
The guests at The Woodlands Resort are so, so lucky.
You can't take your eyes off the citrus paradigm.
His desserts are award-winning.
When Ryan Witcher began his career as a pastry chef more than two decades ago, he never thought he’d be making desserts that would be famous throughout Houston’s Instagram community.
Sure, he’s baked in New York, Singapore, Washington D.C. and Seattle, as well as worked alongside Wolfgang Puck for an 2018 Oscars event. But what excites him most is dreaming up intricate and delicious desserts that are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to diners’ tastebuds.
“People eat with their eyes first. I first design my desserts with flavor and textures in mind and then find a fun way to present it,” Witcher tells PaperCity. “You have to get all of the little details right or it does not matter – a wonderful tasting dessert on a boring vessel, or a great vessel and thoughtless garnish will leave the guest feeling like something is missing.
“The best for me is when I can go out into the dining room and showcase a playful, yet refined dessert that ultimately gives the guest an experience they won’t forget.”
Witcher joined The Woodlands Resort as executive pastry chef in 2017, where he’s been cooking up award-winning culinary sweets ever since. Here, we’ve dived a little deeper into Chef Witcher’s Insta-tastic all-stars.
Texas Two-Step Donut Sundae
Yeehaw! Slip on your cowboy boots and boogie on into this award-winning desert, made of homemade brioche donuts served with basil-infused Texas peaches and garnished with Rebecca Creek Whiskey Sauce. In a final Texas flourish, the desert is dusted with buttered pecans.
Chef Witcher’s Famous Chocolate Cake
Chocoholics rejoice! This cake features Witcher’s favorite chocolates from his travels all around the world. The cake features Valrhona Chocolates, including Tanariva, Guanaco, Andoa Milk Chocolate, Andoa Dark Chocolate Illanka, Itakuja, manjari, oriado and pate de cacao, as well as a variety of textures, flavor combinations and techniques that Witcher has specifically focused to pay homage to Shanghai and Singapore.
Ghana “Dry” Ice Cream Cone
This impressive one-of-a-kind cone just had the honor of earning top honors at The Woodlands 33rd Annual Taste of the Town. Witcher whisks together crisp bacon, Meyer lemon infused olive oil and fleur de sel in a block of dry ice, which creates a real life fog effect — so Instagramable!
After a few minutes of whisking, the yummy mixture is lovingly placed into a homemade cone and ready to be served. Since it’s such a special cone, the dry ice cream cone is only served at Robard’s Steakhouse on Friday and Saturday nights.
Black Forest Sphere
Robard’s Black Forest Sphere is made with sacher sponge cake, Kirsch mousse and dark cherry compote hidden within a chocolate sphere. Topped with 23k gold, the delicious combination hidden inside is then exposed tableside, poured over with hot Tanariva Milk Chocolate-Chambord Ganache.
Peanut Butter Crème Brûlée
Used with honey from The Woodlands Resort’s onsite bee apiary, Witcher’s Peanut Butter Crème Brûlée is made with honey roasted peanuts that are infused into the crème brûlée base. Before serving, the pastry team then bakes it and serves the dish with Fruit Loops, whipped ganache, caramelized popcorn and Concord grape sorbet for a high-low combination.