Meet Houston Chocolate Hero Rakesh Nayak of Common Bond!
'Rakesh Nayak, executive pastry chef of Common Bond. Common Bond is one of eight independent Houston businesses featured during Houston Chocolate Hero Month.
A focus for Nayak is incorporating Asian flavors with a “Western touch” in all of his desserts, including the one featured for Houston Chocolate Hero Month.
For the occasion, Chef Nayak created a Sesame Cake with Whipped Sesame and an Earl Grey White Chocolate Mousse with a hint of chai caramel.
“First, I make the sesame cake with W2 Belgian white chocolate sesame namelaka,” says Nayak. “‘Namelaka’ is a Japanese term for a soft chocolate. That is my base. Then I add the Earl Grey white chocolate mousse with chai caramel.”
Nayak’s career has taken him all over the world and across the sea. He started at a Hilton hotel in his native Bombay in 2003 before moving to Singapore and working as a pastry chef for Star Cruises. Later, he relocated to London for a job with Royal Caribbean. He met his wife on a cruise, which ultimately led him to the United States. In Manhattan, he helped open upscale bakery and coffeehouse Bibble & Sip. Three years later, he moved to Houston to take the executive pastry chef role at Common Bond.
Entremets, or small, mousse-based cakes like Nayak’s special Callebaut sesame cake, are a Common Bond specialty. Nayak also uses Callebaut for his chocolate caramel and fudge brownies. “Most of the chocolate desserts we make are with Callebaut,” he says. “I’ve used it for years now. The company offers white, dark and milk chocolate and I like the consistency. Once you start to use Callebaut, you have more control over the end result.”