Taking over the pastry program of a restaurant known for its quality confections is a daunting task, but that’s what drew Rockville native Nicholas Pine back to the Metro-D.C. area—to serve as the pastry chef for 2941, which came in at No. 8 on our 2017 50 Best Restaurants list.
“I knew that coming into it,” he says. “I didn’t want to go somewhere where they didn’t know what they were doing and didn’t understand what I was trying to do. But it’s been a very easy transition for me.”
Pine started his pastry career at the late Co Co. Sala, learning the art of chocolate. “I really got an intimate knowledge of that medium and that process and that’s still the core of what I do,” he says. “It’s probably my favorite ingredient. I try and incorporate it whenever I can.”
Then, he moved to Las Vegas to work at Jöel Robuchon and L’Atelier de Jöel Robuchon. “It was really a special experience because over there, there’s no limits to what you can do. It’s just your imagination,” he says. “That kind of opened my eyes a little bit to what the possibilities were with pastry and just food in general. It’s like an art form.”
When the opportunity presented itself, he wasn’t too upset about leaving the desert to move back to the East Coast, even considering the change of pace when it comes to the nightlife. “I’m pretty glad I’m home,” he says, mentioning that in regards to working with Executive Chef Bertrand Chemel and the rest of the team, “They’ve adapted to my style and my techniques quite easily and I think it’s going quite well.”
Pine debuted a new dessert menu in April, focusing on seasonal fruits like strawberries and cherries. “I try to keep it simple,” he says. “I think oftentimes things get too complicated. People try and merge too many flavors.”
Most of his desserts center on one key flavor, like the Fraisier with strawberry mousse, pistachio cream, vanilla chiffon, basil crumble, strawberry coulis and crème Chantilly. He also has a vegan offering based on a piña colada that marries coconut sorbet, pineapple compote, rum gelée, gluten-free coconut crumble and pineapple foam.
As an ardent fan of chocolate, his favorite dessert is the Mocha Noisette with mocha ice cream, cocoa sable, azelia mousse, white coffee Chantilly and hazelnut sponge, presented in a glass to look like a terrarium.
This menu will be available through the spring and Pine plans to develop a summer menu that will be introduced in July. He also looks forward to designing elaborate sugar art to display in the restaurant during the holidays. // 2941: 2941 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church