Dessert for Dinner

Give me an order of steak frites over creme brulee any day. But show me the door to any number of New York's ever-popular dessert bars, and I'd be quick to convert.

Dessert as a meal is only growing in popularity.

I first hit ChikaLicious in the East Village several years ago. This sliver of a bar sits no more than two dozen guests and the two pastry chefs prepare the desserts in front you in a minimally-decorated space. You won't be sampling yet another dark molten chocolate cake or apple pie and ice cream. Instead, think along the lines of caramel pastry cream on genoise cake with Granny Smith Apple sorbet, pumpkin mousse and pecan shortbread Napoleon or steamed quince pudding with vanilla anglaise and Asian pear salad. For $12, you can devour an amuse, your choice of a dessert entree and petit fours.

The eponymous David Chang now has his own dessert outlet, Momofuku Bakery and Milk Bar. Other dessert specialties in the city include Room4Dessert, Pong and of course, countless cupcake purveyors.

When I stopped at ChikaLicious this week (I had the fruit risotto topped with an almond crisp and almond sorbet pictured above), I was reminded of what one chef at school told us: that sometimes restaurants with a single theme or focus can succeed and make more money. Our chef told us how he struggled to turn a profit with a menu for his French bistro that focused on a number of classic dishes while trying to keep up with costs (like Manhattan's high rent, utilities, paying employees, etc.).

Maybe that's one reason fast food chains do well? The menu is limited, people know what to expect and it's easier to be consistent.

I don't think I'd love a job making crepes or omelets over and over every day. But a dessert concept could convince me.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
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            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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            Salter College , West Boylston
            • Offers training programs in preparation for professional careers in business, health care, and computers.
            • Provides associate and certificate programs in medical assisting, massage therapy, culinary arts, and more.
            • Places students in externships to gain real world experience before completing their respective program.
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).
            • 2 campuses in Chicopee and West Boylston, Massachusetts.
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            L'Ecole Culinaire , Saint Louis
            • Offers educational opportunities for the aspiring, career-minded chef.
            • Students are trained by professional chefs and spend the majority of their final term working in the campus restaurant to learn all phases of the culinary industry.
            • St. Louis campus offers new Food Truck Entrepreneurship courses.
            • Has a student-run food truck that tours around St. Louis.
            • All campuses have a public restaurant where food is prepared and served by students.
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