Evan Sheridan unveils his new dessert menu this week at Sixteen restaurant (401 N. Wabash Ave., River North, 312-588-8030) since being named executive pastry chef of Trump International Hotel & Tower a month ago. The 33-year-old former executive pastry chef of North Carolina’s Umstead Hotel & Spa succeeds Aya Fukai, who left mid-January to join Maple & Ash.
Sheridan says he tends toward classic flavor combinations, reflected in the seasonal menu of three desserts, such as Coconut/Sour Cherries/Goat’s Milk. The stone fruit–focused dessert features cherry cream and a coconut-ginger financier layered beneath cherries infused with Key lime and finished with caramelized coconut, finger limes, and goat’s milk sherbet.
“Each different component [is meant to] highlight the cherries,” Sheridan says, adding that it took him about a month to achieve the right balance in the dish. “I don’t come up with things so immediately. I have to sit with them before I have a breakthrough.”
Sheridan’s meditative style is largely a product of his training. The 2011 French Pastry School graduate spent a year working at Boka and the University Club of Chicago before leaving town to assume a pastry chef position at the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia, where he learned the value of the guest experience in the increasingly competitive fine dining world.
“The thing that makes fine dining great now is like what makes a great wine grape,” he says. “In a drier environment, the roots have to reach down lower into the soil to reach the water table. You see that in fine dining now. Because of the boom in casual dining, fine dining has had to work harder. [Now it goes] over the moon in creating experiences for their guests.”