Garrettsville – Tracey Garrett is putting Garrettsville under the national spotlight… and it has nothing to do with the fact that she shares her last name with the village’s pioneer founder. Garrett — a pastry chef who owns and operates Top Tier Pastry from her home on Zupancic Drive — was one of five signature chefs nationwide selected to have their Valentine-themed dessert recipe featured in the February 2014 issue of Dessert Professional Magazine.
The New York-based magazine is distributed bi-monthly to 32,000 dessert professionals. Its mission is “to promote, display and enhance the culture of desserts and baking in North America.” Garrett’s decadently-rich recipe for Chocolate Cherry-Pistachio Cake with Red Wine Poached Pears helped to fulfill that mission while validating Garrett’s status as a reputable chef worthy of a national following.
Just how intense is Garrett’s featured cake? As she puts it, “True French pastry should require only five or six bites before you feel satisfied… not because it’s sickeningly sweet, but because it’s rich and offers a complex set of flavors and textures.”
Lucky for Garrettsville that Top Tier Pastry offers endless new opportunities to sample the rich satisfaction that comes from tasting the homemade cookies, breads, cakes, pies, turnovers, scones, muffins, pretzels, and petit fours she turns out of her kitchen on a weekly basis. Garrett has been filling special orders for The Hudson Farmers Market, corporate meetings, holidays, gift baskets, weddings and parties for four years.
Just this winter, Garrett unveiled the Mobile Bakery, in which she hand-delivers her fresh-baked goods directly to offices in Garrettsville, Aurora, Hudson and surrounding areas on Thursdays. Due to overwhelming demand, she is planning to add an extra day to her weekly Mobile Bakery schedule.
Garrett says, “My goal is for you to bite into one of my pastries and have it explode in your mouth with flavor. For an ordinary pastry to be nothing short of extraordinary — all while enjoying the best customer service I have to offer.”
Garrett achieves this goal by refusing to cut corners. She uses the finest ingredients available, including Ghirardelli chips, Pernigotti cocoa, Nielson-Massey vanilla, Plugra butter, and unbleached King Arthur flour. She also incorporates as many locally-sourced, fresh ingredients as possible, including free-range eggs from S &K Sales & Service, seasonally-fresh fruit from Monroe’s Orchard, and quality preserves from Lyons Market gourmet jams and jellies.
“I strongly believe in using peak seasonal products, and scour local farms to pick the freshest produce,” Garrett says on her website. “With ingredients in hand, I build my pastries from the bottom up. Each layer needs to be exquisite on its own, before being married with another component. A cake layer should be fabulous without being hidden under mounds of frosting, and that first finger-full of frosting should make you swoon!”
Garrett learned her craft at Cleveland’s Western Reserve School of Cooking, then went on to earn her pastry degree, studying under Chef de Cuisine Tina Korting. She began her culinary career at Triva’s in Akron, working under Kim Horner (currently of 1 red door), then left to head the bakery department at Hudson’s Crossing.
Even though she stepped away from full-time chef’s work to raise her family, Garrett says she has returned to W.R.S.O.C. often over the years, studying under the world’s finest chefs, including master baker Cyril Hitz, master sugar sculptor Ewald Notter, pastry guru Nick Malgieri, cake stylist Jan Kish, master cake sugar crafter Sue McMahon, chocolatier Norman Love, food scientist Shirly O. Corrihers, and wedding cake designer and Contributing Editor for Martha Stewart Living, Wendy Kromer.
Garrett —- who says she never tires of baking or of conceiving of new twists to existing recipes — has clearly found her calling. Top Tier Pastry is enjoying a growing clientele, and Garrett is seriously considering expanding her business from her home kitchen to a retail space in town sometime in the near future.
Until then, Top Tier foodies get the best of home-baked professionalism from the family kitchen. Get a sneak peek of Top Tier delicacies on Facebook, at toptierpastry.com, or at the Hudson Farmers Market (Saturdays June 7 to Oct. 11 on the Village Green). For special orders or to be included on her Mobile Bakery route, contact Pastry Chef Tracey Garrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (330) 289-1999.