Back in 2011 we introduced the uninitiated to pastry guru chef Jill Bates with a fun Q&A that led us through her background, describing her as “cute but quirky”, something she has reminded us of many times since. The answers included a ration of deeds performed from a masterful gig at the Mansion on Turtle Creek aside renowned chef Dean Fearing, to her more recent departure of Fearing at the Ritz-Carlton here in Dallas to embark on her own as pastry consultant.
Since March of 2019 when Bates took her leap of faith, she has garnered much success with her own pastry consulting business, so we felt it might be time to re-visit the Dame of Dallas Pastry once again to feel out her success.
A phone call netted an hour filled with laughter; hers is contagious. How else should someone who has put in so much time with pastry cream behave after the good amount of years making us all smile with her sugary delights? Life has been described by the Rolling Stones as a cocktail party, but we imagine Chef Bates views it more like a high tea sprinkled with cackles.
Let’s take a small peek at what she has moving in her honeyed hands.
Always a pleasure to see what sweets are plated for us to enjoy, Jill.
It’s been a fun time sitting with chefs and coming up with pastry ideas. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but I really enjoy the camaraderie. It’s a bit nerve racking stepping out of the comfort zone, but genuinely refreshing to work with so many talented people.
Sumac Doughnut Holes with Candied Seasonal Cherries , Local Honey and Pop Rocks at Nosh Bistro
We have been trying to keep up with your work and you have really been busy, most recently working with pastry chef Diana Zamora at Avner Samuel’s delightfully revived Nosh which just recently opened. Tell us a bit about your work there.
Chef Samuels has been fun to work with, bringing vast recipes from memory. He showed me how to make a simple rice pudding, which is something I never thought much of. It was amazing and couldn’t believe that rice pudding was that delicious.
The Nosh menu has some bright offerings, from Cardamom Star Anise Flan with a Poached Stone Fruit Compote with Sweet Organic Basil Oil, to Sumac Doughnut Holes with Candied Seasonal Cherries , Local Honey and Pop Rocks.
Didn’t you also work on desserts at Jose along side AQ Pittman?
That’s right. I developed their pastries, trained a gave them their recipe book so they can create those dishes daily. They are seriously good as is everything at Jose.
fried Mantaou buns with Nutella ice cream and caramel soy banana at Fine China
What are you currently working on? This is pretty exciting seeing your handiwork across the city.
I am working with Jeffrey Kollinger at Spice of Life Catering who just took over the culinary duties at the Statler Hotel. We are doing a tasting with his chefs at Fine China there, and things are looking tremendous. Think sesame maple panna cotta, honey crisp ginger pear, pineapple ice cream, coconut mousse, macadamia nut crunch key lime cheesecake.
What else is on the horizon?
I am staying real busy. I am meeting with Stephan Pyles this week and I have a project I am working on that I probably shouldn’t discuss. I really want to tell you, but it includes laminated dough, breakfast pastries and bakery items. Exciting, really.
I will also be revisiting the menu at Beverly. That was delicious and a really good pastry menu.
mochi at Fine China
That does sound fun, and delectable! Busy is a good thing. You once told us that a perfect peach was the ideal dessert, and we have taken that to heart. Is it still your favorite?
Still love the peach, but I go for anything with ice cream. I had a dessert at GW Fins in New Orleans called the Salty Malty. I came home and did a version of it! Malt ice cream and crumbly pretzels… yum.
The State Fair is coming up, will we see you in the Celebrity Kitchen there?
You will! It always reminds me of Estevan [Galindo] who you know was such a good friend and chef. We would do demos at the fair. I was working near there last week and saw a rainbow shining over the Ferris Wheel and knew it was him smiling down on me.
Have you thought much about television, I think you would kill it.
I have been offered several things on TV, competition programs. I don’t know if that’s me. I cook at home and make things wondering if it will translate well to a restaurant kitchen. But I do miss hot line cooking sometimes, and I do like pushing myself.
You had a huge variety of complex desserts at Fearing’s, but fried pies and banana pudding were both delicious and they were staples. Can you eat banana pudding these days?
It will take a while. I love Dean [Fearing] so much, I just saw him and he is so happy right now.
That’s right, he was just married not too very long ago. We will continue to follow and taste your work, thank you for the chat today. Congratulations, friend.