As a baker who is always busy making client’s cake dreams come true in my tiny kitchen, I’ve only dreamt of kitchens like the one at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach – home to Chez Bon Bon and the beginnings of all the delicious fresh baked breads and treats to be found in various locations around the Fontainebleau property.
This week I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes and check out the massive kitchen creating all sorts of goodness for thousands of guests that frequent the hotel monthly. Chef Simon Bregardis, Executive Pastry Chef of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, welcomed me with open arms, was ready with answers for my million questions, and didn’t even flinch when I hyperventilated with excitement over their amazing chocolate tempering machine.
On the other side of a “Team Members Only” door, down a staircase and through a long hallway that connects all of the restaurants on the property, you’ll find the Fontainebleau Pastry Shop kitchen. Once you enter the doors you are immediately engulfed by the smell of chocolate and pure magic. Chef Simon explained to me that the kitchen was separated into several different smaller kitchens in order to eliminate cross contamination. In his words, “We wouldn’t want flour and yeast dust to damage the chocolates or any other desserts we may be working on.”
Our first adventure was into the kitchen where all of the chocolates and bon bons are created. Now, let’s talk about this chocolate tempering machine that turned me into a real life heart-eyed emoji.
A quick lesson on tempering: Tempering is the process of heating and cooling chocolate to prepare it for dipping and coating. It’s done at very specific temperatures to ensure that the cocoa butter in the chocolate hardens in a uniform crystal structure creating a smooth texture, glossy finish, and that perfect snap when you bite into it.
The tempering machine can best be described as a waterfall of continuously flowing chocolate. The chocolate is in a huge vat and there is a spout of chocolate flowing down back into the pool of chocolate. It made me want to instantly start making chocolates! Chef Simon showed me the supply of chocolate flavors they currently had and I even tried a few – my favorites were the Black Forest Cherry, Earl Grey, and I had to agree with the Chef on his favorite: Salted Caramel. It was hard to leave this room but there was so much left to see.
Next, we ventured into the gelato making room. So much machinery goes into making their gorgeous gelato. Two chefs come in at different shifts to make the 40 to 50 gallons of gelato used on the property per day. With 25 flavors rotating, that’s a serious amount of gelato. The best sellers – inside the hotel are easily cookies and cream or chocolate, but Chef Simon says by the pool people tend to opt for the more refreshing bright flavors like the mango or the raspberry. Can’t say I disagree, I wouldn’t mind laying out to get my tan on with a nice mango gelato cone in this Miami summer heat!
The bread kitchen may have been the most exciting. Walking in it’s hard to miss the tempting scent of fresh bread and yeast in the air. This kitchen has the ever-so-important job of making ALL of the bread for the hotel. Any sandwich, burger, muffin eaten while you are lounging around at the Fontainebleau comes from this room. There’s a massive wooden counter used for prep and ovens found all around.
When I popped in, one of the night bakers was busy prepping muffins to be used for an event the next morning. The pastry shop runs in shifts. Once this baker was done, another would report to the kitchen much later in the middle of the night to put the muffins in the oven. That way, in the morning the muffins that are served at various events are so fresh they might even still be warm out of the oven. Not a bad gig!
The very last kitchen on my Pastry Kitchen tour was the special events kitchen. I haven’t stopped thinking about this one yet. This kitchen has large containers of flour, sugar, almond flour, brown sugar, and just about every other dry ingredient needed to make dessert dreams a reality. It’s also home to the huge walk in freezer that was filled with tons of mini desserts for a special even that was taking place the next day. It was hard to not sneak some out. Chef Simon and his team of cake artists have also started making wedding cakes for anyone lucky enough to get married on the property.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget the amount of work and prep that goes into running an entire pastry program that satisfies thousands of people on a regular basis. Chef Simon Bregardis and his team are creating this perfect experience and making it seem effortless as they do it. Next time you’re at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, take some time to really enjoy that bun your burger is on or the flawlessly crisp, yet doughy crust of your pizza. It’s truly made with love!
For more of my Behind The Scenes adventures you can follow me on Snapchat: amberrrlovee – see you there!
4441 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach FL