CHEF SARA FIGUEIREDO
Executive Pastry Chef Sara Figueiredos' journey to become Gravity Haus’ Executive Pastry Chef has taken her around the world to Singapore, Thailand and beyond — places she pulls inspiration from to create delicious haus-made pastries & desserts. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree from Johnson & Wales, Chef Sara worked at Harvest in Boston’s Harvard Square, followed by Italian-focused stints at Babbo and Eataly and a move to San Francisco where she worked at Michelin-starred Lazy Bear. A big promotion to Executive Pastry Chef at Craftsman and Wolves allowed her to develop a team of like-minded bakers. Chef Sara relocated to Colorado in 2021 to join the Gravity Haus community, launching our renowned three-location pastry program from the ground up.
What inspired you to enter the world of pastry?
I’ve wanted to be a chef since I was a child. Always spending time in the kitchen with family and watching a lot of Food Network. As I got older I realized that being a pastry chef would combine my two passions of art and food and I never looked back.
Where do you find inspiration for your creations?
I love being outdoors. Camping, hiking, paddleboarding, snowboarding. I’m inspired by nature and love to add natural and organic elements into everything I do. I also find a lot of inspiration from learning new techniques and keeping up with new developments in our industry.
Who in your life has been the biggest mentor/inspiration in your career?
One of my biggest mentors is Katia Delogu, who I spent a lot of time with when I helped open Eataly Boston. One of the most hardworking, positive, & generous chefs I have ever worked for. One of the most inspiring things I’ve been able to do is spend a month in Singapore and Thailand where I developed a fond palette for asian ingredients.
How is your team responding to the new realities of the world during and eventually post-COVID-19?
For the most part the reality has not changed, it's more accepted that we have this virus that's part of our everyday lives. Especially in the mountains with a huge influx of tourism during the busy seasons it's practically something you can’t get away from. Though being vaccinated is a huge relief that helps with accepting something we cannot change.
What Social Responsibility/Community initiative are you the most proud of taking part in?
I’m most proud of being part of a community like Gravity Haus whose initiative is to bring like minded people together who love the outdoors and live sustainably. It's great knowing that I work with a group of people that care about their community, environment and live these values everyday.
I also really enjoyed being a part of Bakers Against Racism back when I worked for Craftsman and Wolves. It was a global fundraiser we were a part of and we gave all our proceeds to local charities that help minorities have more access to opportunities.
What are your hopes for the future of the world of food and pastry?
My hopes for this industry is to keep pushing boundaries when it comes to finding ways to be more sustainable in how we source, process, and eat food. I hope that we can build more sustainable environments for our employees and provide them the wages and benefits they deserve.
What should the role of the food/pastry industry be in the community? The world? The environment?
Pastry is soul food, it provides the community nostalgia, comfort and happiness. At a global level it's very much the same. It's usually served during celebrations so it connects and brings people together in so many ways.
What is your earliest dessert memory?
Eating pastéis de natas which are Portuguese custard tarts. Puff pastry shell with a creme brûlée type custard with caramelized craters on top. Best described as a croissant and creme brûlée had a baby. The most underrated pastry of all time.
If you could pass one bit of insight down to a chef just getting their start, what would it be?
Set goals, be persistent and consistent.
What is your favorite perk of the Cercle V program?
Being involved in a community of like minded professionals, and getting to learn from others.
When & how did you hear about Valrhona for the first time? / When & how did your “relationship” with Valrhona start?
I heard of valrhona when I started culinary school and since I started using valrhona I have not gone back! My relationship with Valrhona started when I was the executive pastry chef of Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco.
Celsius or Fahrenheit?
Celsius all day
Favorite Valrhona Chocolate?
Favorite flavor pairing with chocolate?
Go to snack?
Coffee or Tea?
Favorite kitchen tool?
Who do you follow on social media?
Lots of pastry, food and animals
Favorite type of dessert to make? To eat?
Lamination, bonbons and entremet are my favorite things to make. Laminated items are my favorite to eat!