Airy pâte à choux, pooling rivers of caramel, light as air meringue… Everyone imagines the life of a pastry chef is all sprinkles and rainbows. For Rose de la Rosa, Executive Pastry Chef of The Joule, well, it kinda is. Chef Rose oversees all bakery operations on property. Weekend Coffee’s scones, Sassetta’s lemon olive oil cake, CBD Provisions’ peanut butter bar… yep, all that. If it’s sweet and flaky, she and her team make it happen.
On any given day she might be prepping for Tea at TASCHEN Library, piping a thousand mini tarts for a wedding, or baking a birthday cake for a special guest in the penthouse. Variety is the name of the game, and that includes custom orders. “Clients often have special requests for the events they’re hosting at The Joule,” she says. “We love making a personal experience for them. It’s in our nature.”
This isn’t Chef Rose’s first stint at The Joule. After studying pastry arts and hotel-restaurant management at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, she started on the line at the now-closed Charlie Palmer restaurant at The Joule, later moving up to the role of pastry sous chef on the banquet team. That was ten years ago.
“I loved working at The Joule, but I missed small restaurants and wanted to learn more technique, particularly in chocolate,” she says. “That led me to Kate Weiser Chocolate and helping open her first location in Trinity Groves.” From there, Chef Rose bounced to FT33, the fine-dining restaurant whose site in the Design District is now home to Tango Room, one of the city’s premier steakhouses. At FT33, she worked in both sweet and savory as a sous chef. “Working on the pass in such a small kitchen, I learned a lot. I was able to really see how everything comes together.” Ultimately though, pastry has her heart. “I have a very good science background. I love how pastry and baking are like fun chemistry.” (Fun fact: she was a TA for her food science class in college.)
Chef Rose returned to The Joule in 2021. “I saw how much things had grown and jumped at the opportunity to contribute.” While baking, whipping, and icing fill her day-to-day, Chef Rose takes time out to develop new desserts, especially at the top of each season. The holidays are go time. “When I concept a new dessert, I start with the familiar—a classic item or flavor everyone loves. I also think of seasonal flavors. For winter, that’s warm spices—cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves— with fruits like apple, pear, and pumpkin.”
From the recognizable and familiar, she then imagines the twist, bringing in flavor notes from another dish or unexpected tradition. “I love incorporating Texas elements,” she says. “For instance, I’ll think of a banana pudding, but make it with cajeta instead of caramel. I want something to be recognizable, but very much our own.” As for her favorite dessert? The answer might surprise you. “Surrounded by sugar, I’m a savory girl; I want fries!”