Top Ten—Nguyet Nguyen, of Houston's Hubbell & Hudson

Top Ten—Nguyet Nguyen, of Houston's Hubbell & Hudson

Like a kid in a how-to candy shop.

September 14, 2015

When we ask for the top ten things you're into, some of you say weed, and some of you say a good book.


Some of you, like 
Hubbell & Hudson's pastry chef extraordinaire Nguyet Nguyen, are so hyped on your gig as a pastry chef that it's the tools of trade that get you all riled up. Here's ten massively kick-ass things she digs most: 

1. Rubber spatula
This is the workhorse tool. Other than scaring people by making a loud slapping noise on your work table, this tool is really useful for getting every drop out of what you made, and making sure all your ingredients are evenly incorporated.

2. Offset spatula
I use this tool so many times throughout the day I lose count. Spreading chocolate, smoothing cake batter, plating desserts...I would be pretty offset if I lose this tool... [Editors note: BA DUM TSS]

3. Bowl scraper
What better tool to use to make sure you every bit of your hard work is put to use. It's a good thing I have an endless supply thanks to chocolate makers and pastry goods purveyors.

4. Infrared thermometer
Other than looking cool, this handy little device really helps when it comes to tempering chocolate and testing the surface temperature. 

5. Immersion blender
This tool is great for making smooth emulsions. I can make the shiniest ganache, the smoothest pastry cream or filling.

6. Brix refractometer
Want to look like a cool scientist?  This is your tool. It takes the guesswork out of making the perfect sorbet, especially when I use fresh fruit. It's also great for making jellies or jams to make sure you get the sugar balance just right. 

7. Scissors
A really good sharp pair of scissors is essential for any kitchen. Uses range from cutting parchment paper to helping trim heat sugar for making sugar works.

8. Tweezers
When my fingers are too fat or I just really need to be careful when handling something tweezers just make things easier to handle.  It is also a more sanitary way of handling products.

9. Fine-mesh strainer
This is great for sifting small amounts of dry ingredients or getting smooth, clump-free sauces. 

10. Torch
Another really useful tool you can do so much in a kitchen with a torch. They're good for giving things a quick sear, or caramelizing sugar on top of fruits or pastries. You can use it cleaning up chocolate or warm up your mixer bowl as your eggs are whipping. 


Did she miss anything, pastry buffs? What tools are you surgically attached to on the clock? 

Illustration by Liz Noftle