We were lucky enough to get 10 minutes with Pastry Chef Kate Sigel to chat about the cupcake craze, Irish butter, and being open to new experiences in our Q&A with Kate Sigel, the executive pastry chef at Thompson Seattle (AKA the mastermind behind Scout PNW’s famous cinnamon sticky bun).
Where were you before joining us at Thompson Seattle?
I moved here from Chicago – most recently working in a hospital with a bakeshop. It was strange and weird but good.
Is this your first time working in a hotel?
Yes! I was a little nervous – it’s a big undertaking and there are a lot of facets to it. I was scared, but I thought ‘I guess I don’t know until I try! And it worked out!
How many new desserts do you create per week, month, or season?
We do super seasonal, super local – a lot of the recipes have a produce element, so we work within the seasons. So now we’re going into our winter iteration of the menu: looking towards ingredients like red wine, chocolate…
What’s your involvement in the Chef’s Counter Experience at Scout?
I get to collaborate with [Chef de Cuisine] Quinton to create cohesive things that go with whatever they’re doing. In the future? We may look at adding an additional dessert course or a treat for guests to take home with them.
What’s your favorite thing to create?
I like making the cakes: those are really fun. I like to create and play, that’s a really fun outlet for me.
Do you have a large amount of flexibility with your creations at Thompson Seattle?
Yes! I feel really lucky and grateful that that’s the case: as long as it fits within the brand and the idea behind Thompson Seattle and Scout. I like that we do things really seasonally, because that gives me enough of a guideline. My approach is “play around, if it works it works!”
What’s your dream pastry chef job?
Oh my! That’s hard! It’s a great question but a difficult one, because six months ago I never would have dreamed that this is where I’d be and the same has been for my whole pastry career. When I started pastry school it was in the middle of the cupcake craze and I thought, “I want to own my own cupcake shop!” and then I went to school and learned all these new things – and as I experienced different things I tried to stay open and take opportunities as they come. I like to say yes and figure out the details as they come – which has served me well.
And now, a special recipe from Kate herself for Banana Pecan Muffins!
Cake flour 675g
Ap flour 675g
Baking powder 32g
Baking soda 16g
Ripe Bananas 1350g
Brown sugar 675g
Canola oil 338g
Pecan pieces, lightly toasted 675g
Oven type: convection
Oven temp 325F
Cook time 20 minutes
Yield: ¼ batch = 11 muffins
Sift dry ingredients together.
Puree bananas with both sugars until smooth
In mixer with whisk, emulsify eggs and oil together
Whisk in buttermilk, then banana mix
Whisk in salt and dry ingredients until blended, but do not overmix
Stir in nuts
Gently spray cupcake pan with pan spray, then line cavities with cupcake liners
Using a spoon, deposit two scoops of batter into each cupcake liner
Top generously with crystal sugar and bake
Allow to cool completely before removing from pan
You can find Kate’s creations at Scout PNW – open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as weekend brunch – menu and reservations can be found online at scoutpnw.com.