One morning when I was reading the New York Post, I saw the article “Taking The Cake” with Thiago Silva painted across the page with his cake creations. It completely caught my eye and I was intrigued to learn about this up and coming pastry chef. I was able to set an interview and tasting with him at Catch Restaurant in West Village.
As I arrived that sunny afternoon, I was intrigued of the dimensions of this tri-level seafood restaurant. Thiago took me on a short tour of the restaurant, the first level has a broad dining room set for private dinner parties as well as regular dining patrons. As we traveled to the second level, I amazed of the sight the wide-range open kitchen, which allows guests to view the food being prepared and lastly the top-level was a lounge served for after-work drinks and special VIP parties. Recently, Rapper Nas hosted his 38th Birthday there with celebrity friends such as Jay-Z and Common.
Thiago discovered his passion at the age of 13, when his mother decided to take a cake decorating class and she brought him along to translate for her. While in class, the instructor would give direction to his mother and he would translate for her but after a while he literally took it into his own hands. He realized he was actually pretty good at cake decorating, so he continued going to classes with his mother and she eventually enrolled him into the class as a student.
Since then he began making cakes at home. His family was no stranger to the cooking, his father was also a cook, who worked tremendously hard and mother was a housekeeper with part-time catering business. Thiago was motivated and intrigued by his parents’ demeanor and passion towards culinary arts and decided that he would do the same.
Later, Thiago attended Long Island City High School in Queens, NY which offered a culinary arts program for students. He wanted to learn more about culinary arts, rather than pastry at the time. As he went through high school he competed in culinary competitions, but towards graduation he didn’t receive many scholarships because his grades weren’t the highest. His teacher and mentor, Richard Grossman offered to assist him in getting some job opportunities and Thiago was appreciative but stressed that he was looking for a “savory position”. After several phone calls, Olives Restaurant had a position available but it was in the bakery as a Pastry Cook. Thiago was indecisive about taking the position, because of the early hours of 5am that most bakers come into work and the extensive mass production. He was looking for a more complex job but decided to give it a try.
Hitting The Ground…Baking!
After he began working with Exec. Pastry Chef Alfred Stephens, he quickly changed his mind about the world of baking. Thiago enjoyed working with the chef and learned that it was a big difference between working in bakery and in a restaurant. He says ” It’s not just a piece of cake on the plate but so many more elements.” The job was challenge for him and he enjoyed being challenged daily.
Once he realized that he wanted to become a Pastry Chef, he also wanted to attend a culinary school like most aspiring chefs and bakers. His mentor and chef Alfred, convinced him that if he stayed working under his mentorship that he would teach him everything he needed to know. So Thiago contemplated for a bit and decided to stay at Olives with Chef Alfred for three years. After time had past, he did just that and credits his mentor for the skills and techniques he’s attained today.
What’s The Catch?
After Olives, Thiago assisted in opening Abe & Arthur Restaurant as a pastry cook. The restaurant is owned by The EMM Group, who was recently named “The New Kings of New York Nightlife”, who specializes in restaurant and nightlife operations, event production, marketing, promotions and lifestyle management. Thiago was in great company and after two years of hard work and dedication, he is now the Executive Pastry Chef at Catch Restaurant.
As he continuously worked many hours at Catch Restaurant, he still continued to make cakes at home for special occasions. Just as it began to weigh on him, he was given the opportunity to make a cake for his boss’s father who had a birthday party. Once they saw what he could do, they were highly impressed and encouraged Thiago to make his cakes at work which worked in his favor.
Once he started making cakes at work, he started to receive more challenging cakes such a champagne bottle cake, which requires sugar work. Thiago made the cake and from there the challenges elevated. The EMM Group’s PR company decided that when they book parties, that they would offer Thiago’s cakes as an addition.
The EMM Group is known to have several star-studded events which gave Thiago the opportunity to make cakes for celebrities such as Actress Sofia Vergana [Modern Family], NY Knicks Basketball Star Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Rapper Fabolous to name a few.
As of recently, Thiago continues to get several bookings from celebrities as well as making cakes for other special occasions. He looks forward to continue growing with the company and is excited for the EMM Group’s newest project, The Bakery which will open up in the fall.
For more information about Chef Thiago Silva, check out his website, T-agoscakes.com, “Like” his Facebook Fan Page, or you can follow him Twitter, @tagoscakes . To try some of Thiago’s desserts, stop pass Catch Restaurant, located 21 9th Avenue New York, NY 10014
Photo Credits: Isaiah Kelsey, T-agosCakes.com
Thank You Reading!
- Isaiah [@Urban_Foodie14]