Chef Christina of Momofuku Milk Bar (pictured) kicks off the evening of sweet treats with her savory pork croissants.
B y m e g a n g i ll e r p h o to g r a p h y b y j o dy h o r to n
It all started on Twitter. Last July, Bill Corbett, the pastry chef at Absinthe in San Francisco, tweeted to his pastry chef friends that he wanted to come to Austin for—you guessed it—a music festival. Corbett’s favorite punk and metal bands were playing Fun Fun Fun Fest (No Means No, Fight Amp), and he had to be here. So goes the story of Austin. Long a destination for musicians, the city has created a booming music industry that has allowed other industries to follow: its “hyperspeed growth,” as Uchi/Uchiko pastry chef Philip Speer calls it, has made it into a national food destination. “Austin is one of those places that has a soul,” says Michael Laiskonis, the former executive pastry chef of Le Bernardin. Laiskonis, Corbett and other well-known national pastry chefs like Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar had killed with dessert last year in New York for a fundraiser benefiting Share Our Strength, and over Twitter, they quickly hatched a plan to come to Austin. Ned Elliott, the co-owner and chef at Foreign and Domestic who has a self-professed sweet tooth, immediately tweeted to Corbett, “Dude come down and do a guest spot one night!! You can crash on my couch!!” On November 5, eight chefs gathered at Foreign and Domestic for the second Killed by Dessert fundraiser. Before dinner, the chefs shared savory appetizers like Tosi’s Cubano pork croissant and a corn panna cotta topped with a duck confit fritter from the Carillon’s Plinio Sandalio. The dinner itself started out savory too, with a nice, light scotch egg: two fresh yolks wrapped in pulled pork, bacon hash and caramelized onions in a panko-fried crust.