fbpx

How Sweet It Is at The Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale

As part of this season’s holiday festivities at the Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale, pastry chef Carlos Salazar and his team are preparing a gingerbread house for the hotel lobby that’s destined to become a social media sensation. Given the philosophy that’s guided his culinary career, it’s no surprise that Salazar is looking forward to erecting the 192-square-foot main sculpture, one that requires some 2,000 pounds of flour and days to assemble.

“I’ve always been attracted to jobs that were the most difficult,” says the Miami-Dade College graduate.

His success in handling high-pressure, high-stakes jobs—like overseeing the mammoth pastry operations at the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Caesars Palace during his nearly two-decade-long run in Las Vegas—has earned Salazar’s national renown in dessert circles.

“My [Vegas years] allowed me to gain experience on an entirely different level—and not just dealing with [high volume],” says Salazar, who adds that he was making desserts for 15 restaurants at the same time at one point in Vegas. “It also was about doing quality work. It gave me a chance to prove how far I could go in this industry.”

With his mother turning 90, Salazar felt the time was right to return to his South Florida roots, which included a four-year stint at the old Grand Bay hotel in Miami during the late 1980s. It also fulfilled his goal of one day working for a Ritz-Carlton property.

At the Ritz in Fort Lauderdale, where Salazar has been since April, the executive pastry chef oversees a team of eight that handles dessert duties for all dining-related aspects of the resort, including banquets, the poolside café and Burlock Coast, the much-buzzed-about restaurant led by Paula DaSilva.

In complementing the ambience and farm-fresh fare at Burlock Coast, Salazar says that his pastry strategy involved presentations that play off the restaurant’s rustic look (think dishes served on woods and antique trays). Most important, he wanted desserts that didn’t leave customers scratching their heads.

“Sometimes, you’ll go to a fancy restaurant and the dessert looks beautiful, but people still go, ‘What is it?’ ” he says. “Our desserts here are very friendly, very eye-catching—and easy to recognize.”

They’re also delicious. Salazar did a deep-dive on a few of the favorites.

[image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”16172″]

Looks are deceiving: Yes, the chocolate cake at Burlock Coast (pictured) screams decadence. And, sure, the mousse sandwiched between its layers is a dream mix of dark and milk chocolates (the ganache has more dark chocolate, along with cream). But, hey, there’s no flour in the gluten-free cake. “So, people can eat a lot of it and not feel guilty,” Salazar says.

 

Breaking bread: Salazar made croissant pudding for the tasting that accompanied his interview process. “I think that [dessert] got me hired,” he says. “They fell in love with it.” In addition to going heavy on the cream and including white chocolate and pineapple compote, the chef uses fresh croissants instead of day-old bread to give it an absurdly buttery flavor.

 

Something special: Just in time for the holidays, Salazar has added two “wintry” desserts to the offerings at Burlock Coast—white chocolate panna cotta and a chocolate mousse dome. Expect more of these bonus treats throughout the year, similar to the bourbon pecan pie created to complement a bourbon promotion at the restaurant.

 

The key to Key lime: Salazar says patrons “go crazy” over his Key lime pie, which features a crispy graham cracker crust, torched meringue on top—and a creamy core composed of condensed milk, egg yolks and fresh, authentic Key lime juice.

[/image_with_text_over]

You May Also Like

Melting Pot Selects Coral Gables as Next Location

The Tampa-based fondue concept is continuing its South Florida expansion efforts.

Melting Pot
Paula’s Food Diaries Returns to Burlock Coast at Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale

Chef Paula DaSilva will showcase acclaimed dishes crafted by culinary luminaries Emeril Lagasse and Lorena Garcia.

Burlock Coast at the Ritz-Carlton Scallops
Enjoy Father’s Day Dining in South Florida

Check out where to enjoy the holiday at one of these local hotspots.

Father's Day Dining in South Florida
An Upscale Dining Experience Shines at Verde Restaurant in the Perez Art Museum

The Perez Art Museum Miami is an art lover’s heaven, a place where you can escape the outside hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in gorgeous installations and scenic views of Biscayne Bay. Yet, a little slice of heaven is tucked away in the museum, a place where you can enjoy the

Verde Restaurant

Other Posts

CATCH, a Globally-Influenced Seafood Dining Destination, Opens in Miami Beach

The restaurant will also cater to private and semi-private events.

Hutong Launches Interactive Sunday Brunch Experience 

Experience this extravagant Chinese brunch in the heart of Brickell.

Hutong Miami
An Upscale Food Oasis in South Beach: Il Bolognese

Ocean Drive, a historic and vibrant South Beach street, truly comes alive during the day with revelers enjoying some fun in the sun. Within this street lies the Winter Haven Hotel Miami Beach, part of the Autograph Collection of hotels. It’s a gorgeous property that brings comfort, luxury, and a classy vibe to Ocean Drive.

Pink Steak in West Palm Beach Launches Sunday Brunch

The steakhouse’s chef-curated service features elevated fare and inventive cocktails.