Pastry chef Jill Bates is all about happy endings. For more than 20 years, her acclaimed desserts have wowed diners at Dallas’ crème de la crème of fining dining establishments. She’s also worked with some of the city’s most renowned chefs, including Dean Fearing, Stephan Pyles, James Wagner and Tom Colicchio. Yet, earlier this year, Bates decided it was time to leave the traditional restaurant kitchen for something new: her own private consulting and freelance business. [email protected]
Topping an already impressive client list is Greg Katz, owner of Beverley’s (which also happens to be one of the most sought-after reservations in town). “My part was listening to what desserts he wanted, then developing and testing the recipes,” Bates says. Among the biggest hits: a warm toffee cake topped with an oversize scoop of vanilla ice cream and crunchy toffee bits.
Another favorite is a strawberry flan, conceived with chef Anastacia Quinones for José. “It’s like an impossible cake, but in reverse,” Bates says. “The flan is on top. I’d never made anything like that before.” Her other creations run the gamut of vegan crisp and gluten-free options for Café Momentum, and Inspirations of Hot Chocolate, an uber-rich dark chocolate cake with hot chocolate custard, vanilla bean ice cream, marshmallow bark and caramel sauce that appears on chef David Temple’s Bonnie and Clyde-themed menu.
Bates’ secret to a great dessert? “Texture is my thing. I think about the mix—crumbly, crunch, salt and cream—when I’m developing a recipe.” And the best part of striking out on her own? “Having my hands in so many different things,” she says, adding: “Restaurant hours can be a beast. Maybe now I’ll have time to relax a little bit.”