Crème brulee, cheesecake and boston cream cake are delicious on their own, but top them with fresh, perfect, ripe raspberries, blueberries and strawberries, and you’ve created a beautiful dessert.
Executive pastry chef Nicole Coady puts her twist on those favorite desserts and concocts her own sweet treats at Finale Dessert Co., Allston. She’s also the mastermind behind Finale’s fresh salads and sandwiches, all prepared daily with top-quality produce and other ingredients.
Coady said she demands only the best-quality produce from her suppliers. And, with about five suppliers making weekly bids to earn Finale’s business, it’s critical that they meet her standards every time.
Occasionally, Coady, who trained at Johnson & Wales University, makes a trip to vendors warehouse to check out the quality.
“To me, its (high quality) is huge,” Coady said. “It’s part of out overall quality standards.”
Finale, founded in 1998, now has four locations in the Boston area with some locations, planned Coady said.
She works in a new 8,000 square-foot central production kitchen that the company moved into in late February. Before the move, Finale shared 2,300 square-foot facilities with other foodservice companies, Coady said.
Some restaurants of foodservice operations will accept lesser quality, blemished produce because they plant to cut, process or cook it. But Finale uses fresh produce in salads on sandwiched and atop desserts, so it must look perfect.
“All our products are made as fresh and as often as possible,” Coady said.
Orange Pecan Salad, made with mesclun, asparagus and oranges among other ingredients, is one of Finale’s most popular salads, Coady said.
One of her favorite menu items is the Apple Mango Sandwich, made with fresh granny smith apples.
In March, Finale’s menu included about 15 different plated desserts, about 13 of which contained fresh fruit. Crème brulee, topped with a fresh fruit medley, is the most popular of the desserts in which she uses fresh fruit, Coady said.
The fruits enhance flavors, textures and presentations, Coady said. Quality is especially important for the fresh berries decorating the tops of some desserts.
“For berries, its of utmost importance,” Coady said. “If you (as a Finale customer) see a moldy raspberry in the dessert case, is gives you an impression that the quality is down.”
Buying locally grown produce is not a priority for Coady, but when it’s available, she uses it.
She likes to use local apples, for example. New Bedford - based specialty produce distributor Sid Wainer & Son is one source Coady said she used her local produce.