For pastry chef Ariel Galun, life is all about sweet endings. And as the force behind Radius’ ever-changing menu of dessert temptations ─ anything from silken crème brulée and Key Lime pie to salted caramel ice cream and mango sorbet ─ Ariel has a chance to put her passions into practice.
“I would describe my approach as ‘meticulously crafted, traditional desserts,’” says the 24-year-old Solon native, who revels in baking from scratch. “I don’t do things from a box. And I am all about using natural ingredients.”
Fresh fruits and berries figure prominently in Ariel’s repertoire. “I really enjoy making fruit pies with real butter crusts,” says this graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. “I especially love working with the pie dough.”
Speaking of favorite ingredients, Ariel also gives the nod to that perennial crowd-pleaser, chocolate. “Everything goes better with chocolate!” she laughs. “When it comes to creating new recipes, if I have a problem, the solution is usually chocolate!”
Before joining the Radius team in 2013, Ariel worked at the Clinton Street Baking Company in New York City, Taste Budds Cafe in Red Hook, New York, and Provenance at the Cleveland Art Museum. While her talents are on display each time a guest orders one of her luscious creations, her love of baking is a lifelong passion, developed during frequent kitchen sessions with her mother.
“Growing up, I spent as much time as I could with my mom, watching her and learning from her. To this day, she’s my hero and my inspiration. Thanks to her, I knew from the time I was a little girl that I wanted to be a pastry chef when I grew up.”
Asked to name some of her bestsellers, Ariel rattles off a list that includes classic crème brulée, molten chocolate cake, linzer torte, and a spectacular turtle-brownie sundae with salted caramel ice cream, candied pecans, caramel sauce, and chocolate sauce. Many of her popular creations offer seasonal flare, like pear crisps and pumpkin pies in winter, and refreshing citrus sorbets in the summer.
But whatever the specifics, Ariel offers three great reasons to save room for dessert.
“First, I think it is good to expand your palate,” she says. “It makes sense to explore and discover new flavors beyond what you find in savory dishes.
“Second, because desserts are so often shared, eating one becomes a communal experience. People enjoy, compare bites and discuss the new flavors. So while it might sound corny, desserts definitely help bring people together.”
But her third reason is the one that really brings it home.
“Why have dessert?” she asks rhetorically. “The number one reason to eat dessert is this: because it makes you happy!”
Radius is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. Click here for reservations.