Rory Macdonald

Pastry chef Rory Macdonald was named one of the ten best pastry chefs in the United States by Dessert Professional and is renowned for reimagining classic pastries and desserts. Originally from England, he travelled all over the world to learn and refine his craft, including working with Salvador Gallego in Madrid and Jun Tanaka in London. In June 2017, he opened the patisserie Chanson and the late-night Dessert Bar in New York City, and his six-course, omakase-style tasting menu has won acclaim. In 2019 Rory’s debut cookbook, Bake, was published. Rory is currently the executive pastry chef at the Tin Building by Jean-Georges, located in lower Manhattan’s historic Seaport.

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Get to know Rory

What is your favorite cocoa-based dessert?

It’s not necessarily cocoa-based, but Tiramisu is one of my all time favorites. The dessert itself is so rich that the cocoa really cuts through and balances it out. It's not just to make it look nice - it really completes the dessert.

What would be your top tip for using cocoa for other pastry professionals?

Really take the time to research the different varieties on offer. Each cocoa powder has its own unique qualities, which I think can really enhance existing products but also opens the door for new creations - for instance, offering a good substitute for couverture in some recipes. In the past, cocoa powder was a bit of a commodity for me which I didn’t think much about, but now I really consider the options available.

What are your favorite flavors for using alongside cocoa in pastry creations?

It somewhat depends on the type of cocoa you are using, as they have a really vast range of flavor, from Carbon Black to Terra Rossa. But recently I was testing a Classic Tiramisu using citrus, in this case candied Kumquats and True Gold Cocoa powder, which for me worked really well. Citrus in general is a strong flavor, so a cocoa powder that is too light in flavor would get overpowered by the citrus, but one too deep and strong in flavor would mask the citrus - the True Gold sits more in the middle and is a great pairing.

What is your favorite product from the deZaan range?

Each cocoa powder has it's own qualities, but my favorite is probably Crimson Red. I find it the most versatile, the flavor is strong enough to stand out, but mild enough for multiple uses, and it can be used to finish dishes without adding too much bitterness. The color is also a big advantage. It has a deep, deep red color which makes desserts really stand out. It is a really unique product.

What do you like most about cocoa from deZaan?

I like the breadth of range, which enables me to use cocoa powders in more applications and dishes. I have never seen or used a range of cocoa powders quite like this before.

Two Different Cocoa Powder Testing Bottles

Is cocoa powder the 'forgotten ingredient' among pastry chefs? Discover Rory's work with ICE (Institute of Culinary Education) and find out how he's working to give cocoa powder more than just a supporting role in his dessert creations.


Rory's Recipes