If you want to see someone having fun with goat’s milk and fruit chews, check out Philly native Lasheeda Perry on the Food Network’s “Sweet Genius.”
The weekly show’s host, Master Pastry Chef Ron Ben-Israel, gives absurd culinary assignments to three competitors, all of them professional pastry people. The one who creates with the most yummy concoction with the bizarre ingredients wins the title of “Sweet Genius” and – better still – $10,000 cash.
She graduated in 2004, earned a full ride to Johnson & Wales University, the culinary-training mecca, went abroad on foodie adventures, then snagged a coveted gig doing a la carte desserts at the Four Seasons in Dallas. She then moved to Philly’s Four Seasons for 18 months, where her desserts received special mention in a review of The Fountain by Inquirer food critic Craig Laban.
"The pastry kitchen delivers its own exquisite delicacies, like apple sticky toffee pudding with cognac ice cream, or a playful Meyer lemon tart that looks like a snail trailing blueberry compote," he wrote of Perry's creations.
Two months ago, Lasheeda moved to the Four Seasons’ Baltimore property, where she’s a sous pastry chef. She loves the high-end hotel chain but her dream isn’t to run its whole show; it’s to open her own pastry cafe.
“I’d do traditional desserts but with an elegant twist,” she says. For example, she says, she’d make a coconut cake but add a coconut sorbet to it, for an unexpected surprise. “I’d make it different, but make sure people could still relate to the flavors.”
By the way, if Lasheeda’s name and face are familiar to Daily News readers, it might be because, two years ago, I wrote about her identical twin, Mareeda Perry, who - against astounding odds - graduated from LaSalle University.
The sisters are unbelievably accomplished, which is impressive - but doubly so when you understand the tough background they trumped to get where they are.
Read the column here.