Chef Kim Yelvington
Chef Kim Yelvington, owner of Chocolate Pi and Executive Pastry Chef of Harry Waugh Dessert room, selects The Smoke Shack
Hot Plate: Pulled pork sandwich
Interview by: Sarah Morin
Why is this the best barbecue in town?
They use family recipes. Barbecue is a southern family thing—and I appreciate it because I am from the south (Kentucky). The sides alone are worth coming for. The truffle mac and cheese and the four-bean baked beans have texture and brown sugar sweetness.
How long have you been coming here, and how did you find out about it?
It’s been open 2 1/2 years now. It all started inviting friends to a backyard barbeque with ridiculous smoked ribs. A hobby turned into a good business, now it has a cult following.
If you weren’t baking, what would you be doing?
Probably something with architecture. I had the opportunity to go to France and decided I wouldn’t go into architecture, my original intent. The baking industry at the time was so mass-produced. In France I was exposed to the artistic, creative side of baking I wanted to pursue.
How did you get involved with your current restaurant?
In 2002, I started Chocolate Pi. I saw a niche in the market where high quality desserts and cakes were missing. I underestimated the cake demand as I began with a dream of opening a small, French-style pastry shop.
How would you describe the cuisine at Chocolate Pi?
It became a true blend of southern, French and American. I like redoing American classics with a French quality.
What’s one dish I have to try?
Our homemade ice cream, specifically the graham cracker ice cream or a scoop of the banana ice cream.
What’s on ingredient you can’t live without in your kitchen?
It’s a tie between Valrhona chocolate and vanilla beans.
Which cooking competition show would you most enjoy competing in?
Life is like a competition and every weekend is like a cake challenge. If I did compete, it would in be the Pastry Olympics.
The Smoke Shack is located at 3423 S. Dale Mabry Hwy., Tampa, FL 33629. For more information, call (813) 748-1988 or visit www.SmokeShack-BBQ.com.