Pichet Ong
403 W. 13th St.
New York, NY 10014


StarChefs: What is your philosophy on dessert?
Pichet Ong: Be adventurous with flavor, but clean and simple.

SC: What restaurants have you worked in as a pastry chef?
PO: Cello, RM, La Folie, Patroon.

SC: Where did you train/what school did you attend?
PO: In Berkeley. Chez Panisse—that’s where I discovered cooking. I spent five years as a line cook at Sono, Tabla, Olives in Boston and Jean Georges. There were 13 years of hopping around the globe before realizing pastry was my passion.

SC: What pastry or kitchen tools can’t you live without? Why?
PO: Excluding my hands, a KitchenAid Mixer and spatulas.

SC: What are your favorite ingredients?
PO: I’m a big fan of fruits. Sugar. Apples. Rose petals and chocolate. Durian.

SC: What are three tips for dessert success?
PO: Bloom aromatics in oil and apply that to pastry; put spices with fat. Zest directly onto the product. Always cook from intuition; go by what feels and tastes right versus a recipe.

SC: Who are your mentors/pastry heroes?
PO: Sherry Yard, Emily Luchetti, Claudia Fleming, Bill Yosses.

SC: Where are your favorite desserts?
PO: The desserts at wd~50. Vicki Wells’ desserts. Bill Yosses at Joseph’s Citarella.

SC: In an article you made a point about pastry chefs being the unsung heroes of restaurants these days. Why do you think that is? How can we bring pastry to the forefront again?
PO: Chefs and restaurant owners need to recognize more what pastry can do for a restaurant. Pastry chefs can do crazy things. Pastry chefs are to restaurants what the actress is to a movie.

Pichet Ong
SPICE MARKET & 66 | New York City

As the Pastry Chef at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Spice Market and 66, Pichet Ong harkens back to his childhood in Thailand, Hong Kong, and Singapore to introduce the exotic flavors of Southeast Asia to the contemporary American dining scene. Pichet pursued a degree in architectural design at U.C. Berkeley before embracing the pastry arts – a reasonable shift given the similarities between the two disciplines. Gaining experience in top kitchens including Chez Panisse, the original Olives in Boston, as well as Jean Georges, Tabla, Patroon and RM in New York City, Pichet has become known for creating innovative, intensely flavorful desserts that are visually appealing and whimsical. Ever the the social butterfly, he is the founder of “Pastry Chefs Night Out,” a weekly dinner gathering for the pastry chef community in New York.


Ovaltine™ Kulfi with Banana and Spiced Chocolate
Chef Pichet Ong of Spice Market and 66—New York, NY
Adapted by StarChefs.com

Yield: 8 Servings


    Kulfi base:
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 cups goat’s milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Scant cup Ovaltinetm powder
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate
    Three milk chocolate sauce:
  • 6 ounces evaporated milk (2 cans)
  • 3 ounces condensed milk (1 can)
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cinnamon stick
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate
    Spiced caramel popcorn crust:
  • 14 ounces sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons glucose or corn syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 ½ ounces popcorn kernels
  • 3 ounces butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons mukwa
  • 3 ½ ounces fried mung dal (mung bean puree)
  • 4 Tablespoons poppyseeds
    Malt chantilly:
  • 3 Tablespoons malt powder (Horlicks™)
  • 5 ounces cream
  • Pinch of salt

For kulfi:
Simmer cream, milk, vanilla bean and salt in sauce pot for about 25 minutes until cream is thickened, coating the back of a wooden spoon. Add ovaltine powder whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and boils again. Remove from heat, add chocolate and stir until melted. Strain mixture and pour mixture onto 8 molds. Freeze until set.

For chocolate sauce:
Bring evaporated and condensed milk, split vanilla bean, salt and cinnamon to a simmer, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Strain and chill.

For spiced caramel popcorn crust:
In a clean pot, cook sugar, glucose, water and lemon juice over high heat until it reaches the soft-ball stage, or 234-240°F. Add popping corn, reduce the heat to low, and cover. Cook over low heat until the lapse between each corn popping is more than 3 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in butter add salt. Add mukwa, fried mung dal, and poppyseeds and stir to coat with caramel.

Carefully pour mixture onto a cool surface and, working with gloves, separate the spiced caramel popcorn into smaller clusters. Set aside to cool.

For malt chantilly:
In a pot, bring cream to a scald. Whisk in malt and bring mixture to boil. Remove from heat and refrigerate in a bowl for at least 2 hours. Whisk chilled malted cream to medium peaks.

Unmold kulfi and place on plates. Spoon malt chantilly over kulfi, about 2 Tablespoons per serving. Garnish with spiced caramel popcorn clusters and chocolate sauce.

   Published: April 2005