Rehoboth has a Sweet Spot for a talented trio of pastry chefs
The presence of a pastry chef - especially in a resort town - is one of the signs that a restaurant has "arrived." But with all the ice cream dippers, caramel corn caramelizers and doughnut drizzlers here at the beach, full-time pastry chefs at restaurants are still few and far between. After all, seasonal competition is hard enough without having one person dedicated to nothing but squiggly things made out of sugar. But this is Rehoboth Beach. We answer to a higher authority. Good desserts are a must.
That's where Pastry Chef Dru Tevis comes in. This young toque has certainly made a name for himself here in the Nation's Summer Capital. Even if you rarely dine east of The Highway, you've certainly enjoyed his creations both here and in New York City.
Like many of us, a somewhat-younger-than-he-is-now Dru vacationed here and associated great memories with our sand and surf. In fact, before embarking on an anticipated film/video program at The American University in Washington, D.C., he spent the summer of 2009 working for Glenda Adkins at now-long-gone Blue restaurant on The Avenue (used to be Taste and is now Cilantro). He was pinch-hitting as both server and bartender when a position became available (that's restaurant-speak for "somebody didn't show up") and he found himself whippin' up desserts. As Blue's jack-of-all-trades, he never had a free moment. "The more pressure there was, the more I loved it," he tells me. "I thrive on the rush." Dru's film career did a quick fade to black, and that's not a bad thing: We can survive without one more or less movie, but fresh, handmade desserts? That's another story.
Tevis had a knack for his craft, but he knew that he needed to fill in some blanks with formal education. So, he left The American University in a cloud of powdered sugar and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York City, joining notable alumni such as TV chef/restaurateur Bobby Flay and New York molecular gastronomist/Top Chef participant Wylie Dufresne. Our youthful upstart was a hot item in the Big Apple, and he quickly landed a position at the hoity-toity Momofuku Milk Bar.
Tevis maintained ties with Rehoboth by applying his newfound skills to the dessert menus at a number of downtown restaurants. "In New York, I worked under highly skilled chefs at Momofuku, and then I got to put that knowledge into my own creations here at the beach. It was the best of both worlds."
After a stint as pastry chef at The Dutch restaurant in New York, Tevis traveled to Italy, London and Paris for specialized cooking classes. But he missed his full-time life in the Cape Region. Dru eventually joined forces with the Blue Moon, Shorebreak Lodge and the now-gone Bramble & Brine. But that kitchen door swings both ways (especially here at the beach), and Tevis eventually found a home with The Sweet Spot at La Vida Hospitality's Fork & Flask @ Nage.
Classically trained Tevis, Custom Cake Guru Edie Enriquez, Pastry Sous Chef Becky McClain and entrepreneur/La Vida founder Josh Grapski are an unbeatable combination not only for LaVida and their Sweet Spot dessert setting, but also for Nage's popular catering division. Their creations also appear regularly at Crooked Hammock Brewery, the new Big Chill Beach Club at the Indian River Inlet, and Rosenfeld's Jewish Deli ... just to name a few.
It's a rare Rehoboth Chocolate Festival where Dru, Edie and Becky don't walk away with an armful of prizes. Dru and the gifted La Vida team love what they do, and you can taste it in every course – especially dessert.