EMM Group’s Sweetest Weapon: Pastry Chef Thiago Silva

Arriving ravenous to an interview with a renowned pastry chef was a bad idea. I knew it the moment Thiago Silva – the 28-year-old Brazilian executive pastry chef behind all OF EMM Group’s restaurants –  placed a massive, glazed green tea donut and mini honey jar before me, and uttered three little words: “It’s cream-filled.” With that, I was off to the races, cutting open the donut, scooping up the green tea mascarpone cream, drizzling the honey all over its lemon honeycomb-topped self, and leaving no crumb behind. Thiago wasn’t fazed. It’s most patrons’ natural response to the signature dessert at The General – EMM’s newest hotspot: an Asian-inspired bar, restaurant, and downstairs jazz lounge.

But at The General, the doughnut doesn’t stop there; the Bowery spot has become known for Thiago’s most nostalgic, breakfast creation: cereal-topped doughnuts. Yes, doughnuts topped with Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and filled with their respective cereal creams. “A lot of people think I was high when I came up with the idea,” Thiago says. “But I wanted a breakfast item, so I combined my favorite breakfast cereals with my really great doughnut recipe.”

The doughnut recipe is another wildfire idea Thiago’s concocted that’s become EMM Group’s top-ordered dessert across all their restaurants. On the sweets menus of their spots CATCH NY, CATCH Miami, Lexington Brass, and Abe & Arthur’s, you’ll find one signature doughnut. For CATCH Miami, it’s their key lime doughnut. At The General, it’s green tea. For the rest it changes, with flavors like pumpkin and peaches and cream.

But Thiago – the man who grew up in Astoria and ironically bellowed “Feed me, feed me, Seymour” in his star-turn as the man-eating house plant in his high school’s production of Little Shop of Horrors  – brings more than doughnuts and plated desserts to NYC. He’s also a master of cakes, known for creating outrageous cakes for EMM’s clients, most notably a four-foot-by-four-foot 16th birthday cake with a confetti cannon, fog machine, and lights. Suddenly, the chef doubles as an electrician.

“I googled how to do the electrical and wood work for the cake,” says Thiago. “And that’s what I love about making cakes – you never make the same cake twice, you never know what kind of order you’ll get. It’s a collaboration with the client, and you’ve got to deliver and make it memorable.”

Thiago, who’s had no formal culinary training, has made lots of memorable cakes for folks you might recognize: Brooke Shields, three cakes for Sofia Vergara, and the entire New York Giants squad, the day after they won the Super Bowl.

“That was the best, they’re my team,” says Thiago. “And Sofia is funny; she told everyone at the party that she stayed up all night making the cake.”

But nowadays the chef is staying up all night for a whole new reason: he and his wife have just had a baby boy. Full name: James Brenden Silva (adorable video here).

“He’s my favorite kind of sweet,” Thiago says. “Him, and tiramisu.”

The General

Learn more about chef Thiago Silva, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

Jimmy Fallon Returns With More ‘Downton Sixbey’ This Week

Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’s star-studded Downton Abbey sendup, Downton Sixbey (named for the studio in which he films) has been surprisingly entertaining as of late, with special guest stars Whoopi Goldberg, Brooke Shields, Fred Armisen and Carson Daly, who keeps getting killed off by hot-air balloons, asserting ?uestlove as the heir to Downton Sixbey. Jimmy Fallon dons a rather unconvincing British accent and, as Lord Grantham, makes some unfortunate business decisions, including investing in something called the “Shake Weight” and a restaurant franchise called Thank Heaven’s It’s Friday.

This week, we were treated to two new episodes, chock full of dowager-spoofing bon mots (“heir today, gone tomorrow”) and scenes from the “downstairs” writers’ room, where crude puns about knob-polishing and recycling jokes (“Downton has fallen on hard times”) abound. Oh, and the Thomas and O’Brien avatars are nearly perfect. On Wednesday night, following Cousin ?uestlove announcing which of the lord’s daughters he has chosen to marry. The answer will be unsurprising here, and the wedding episode that ensues is equally amusing, especially for fans of the Edwardian melodrama. Here are both, for your mid-morning viewing. 

A Burlesque Show & Interview with ‘Addams Family’ Star Brooke Shields

Crooner Bryan Ferry once lamented “with every Goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down.” He obviously never met Brooke Shields. I had that honor and thrill Sunday night at Nurse Bettie, that too-small-to-be-even-dubbed-a-hole-in-the-wall joint on Norfolk Street. She is the nicest person I’ve ever met, and I’ve met a few. The occasion was a cast party for The Addams Family Broadway show. She plays Morticia and it sounds like a scream.

The cast sans costumes, entertained by Burlesque performers, curated by photog/makeup artist Tina Turnbow (paid for by Brooke), was so much fun off stage that I’m just dying to see what they bring to the stage. Brooke and I stepped outside to talk. Lower East Side travelers were surprised to see the legendary Brooke sitting out there on a stoop but she disarmed them with a smile and talked to them with an enthusiasm and charm that made them instant friends. As I stood there watching her chat with the hoi polloi her handsome, beautiful face took me back to her Pretty Baby days, her Blue Lagoon era, her Calvin years, her Michael Jackson friendship/romance and all those etceteras.

I asked Tina Turnbow if she was always like this and was told, “I’ve been doing Brooke’s makeup off and on for a while. I remember doing a few photoshoots with her and her co-stars, of Lipstick Jungle. She spread warmth, humor, and support to all. She exudes that same wonderful, caring energy, with her cast-mates of The Addams Family. When I mentioned treating everyone to a private burlesque show at Nurse Bettie—she was down! Besides a million other positives, Brooke loves to see the people she cares about, really happy. Tina added, “When I do her makeup, she still looks like herself, only better and younger. That’s when I get to make her happy.”

The Burlesque gals that have seen it all couldn’t get enough of her. She was involved and interested and appreciative of them as artists. In a NY Post blurb she described the performers as follows, “I really admire what these women do. There is such an art to it, they are able to embrace their sexuality, but also they make it fun.” Despite her star power she was just one of the gals even when she was upstaged by performer Nikki LeVillain’s seven foot Burmese Python. The snake stole the show. There were legitimate fears that it might consume hilarious Addams family co-star Jackie Hoffman who plays Grandma. Besides Ms. Hoffman Zachary James (Lurch), Rachel Potter (Wednesday), and Tony Award-winner Roger Rees (Gomez) were on hand.

The Burlesque gals included Calamity Chang, Stormy Leather, Medianoche, Gal Friday and Honi Harlow. I talked with Brooke for a while about how Steve Rubell and her mother insulated her from the pitfalls of nightlife and others. We talked of Michael Jackson and Lipstick Jungle which she loved and misses. She won me over in seconds and by the time I left her I was completely disarmed. Brooke Shields is not just another pretty face. I remembered to turn on my recorder and leave you with this:

“Scandal” has been in your life even before you could spell the word “scandal.” You’ve always taken it in stride from what I can see, and you explain yourself with a level of honesty.Honesty seems to be a very important word for you. There’s nothing left other than honesty. I’ve been embroiled in certain things that were not precipitated by me, and still, all I can do is be honest about how I feel about it. It’s interesting because whether we’re at a Burlesque event, which I think is such an art form—it’s not porn, it’s not the objectifying women in the wrong way—there’s something about it. I just appreciate it and that’s why I want to celebrate it. All through my life, controversy does follow me and I just have to respond honestly. That’s the only thing I can do because there’s no other point. I don’t have any other choice. A long time ago, when I worked for Steve Rubell at Studio 54, he brought me into his office and said, “I’m throwing Brooke Shields a birthday party. Go get an elephant. I want to get an elephant put her birthday cake on top of it.” And of course, I went out and did that. I got a baby elephant. I totally remember that. And there were gladiators…! My big concern was that the elephant wasn’t scared, because I didn’t ask for the elephant! Other celebrities would’ve been worried about their close-up, and you were worried about the baby elephant. Your name has been linked to sports people, Michael Jackson, a career and a personal life that has really covered the gamut. Still, you really never lose yourself in the hype. My time is not worth more than anybody else’s. It just isn’t. I may be recognizable, or famous, or whatever that means, but that in and of itself really doesn’t mean anything and it doesn’t get you anything. I don’t merit more than anybody else. It doesn’t make me better. It’s arbitrary. Just because you’re recognized does that make you better? I’ve been lucky so far in that I’ve gotten further opportunities from what I did yesterday. Somehow there is a trajectory for me to keep working but it doesn’t make me better. I did a play this summer and I was the lead in the play, I was the only one getting consistently great reviews, and yet I was the only one that didn’t get nominated out of five other women, and the four of them got nominated. And you sit there like, “Wow. Okay. What does it mean?” None of it means anything. It hurt, and I felt terrible about it, but on the same token, it doesn’t make me better, it doesn’t make me less than. I read something earlier, while doing some research, which implied that there was no childhood—it was just work, work, work. Have you always been the same? Eileen Ford said she started the child division at Ford because of you. She said as a very young girl, you were like an adult. But also, my mom said to Eileen, “You need to start a kid’s division and you only have adults.” So my mom actually was the one that spurred Eileen to do that! But here’s the thing. I was an adult at a young age probably more because my mother was an alcoholic. I think that when you’re a child living with an alcoholic, you opt for certain things, and I was an only child. That was a precipitated event to my well-being to act like an adult in comparison to other kids. What my mom said to my dad when they got divorced is: “Listen. I don’t want anything from you. Just put her through school.” And my dad put me through normal, “regular” school. So I stayed in the city and I only went to regular schools. I never went to a professional child’s school, or children’s school. I never got educated by mail. And I think that that really enabled me to have a different perspective. No matter what was going on, I got through the process and God bless her, for as crazy and drunk as my mother was, somehow she took me out of the Hollywood life and said, “Listen. You are going to do this.” And simultaneously, weirdly enough, I was doing films during the summer time while kids were going to summer camp. That’s the juxtaposition. And now you’re playing Morticia in The Addams Family on Broadway. The first one, Carolyn Jones, was on television. But then Anjelica Huston played her in the movie, and my version of Morticia is more like a tribute to Anjelica. She’s going to come see the show. Tell me about Morticia Addams. It made sense for me to come into this because there is such an identification with Morticia and a bizarre identification with me for whatever reason—whether it be Blue Lagoon, or Hannah Montana, Calvin Klein—none of it makes any sense, but it goes farther than I would’ve thought. And there was something that made sense by me coming into that role. So if people are sensitive and loyal to a Morticia character, they’re not going to be mad at me for playing that character. People get really loyal towards the people they like and I understand that, so that’s the first thing. Morticia herself…she’s the mom. She likes darker things, but still, the basis of who she is, is that she doesn’t want to get older. She wants to grow and get older stage-wise, but she doesn’t want to look older. And who wants to look older? She’s also a mom. She’s a wife. She’s the matriarch. She’s that person. I think I identify with her in regards to the fact she’s a really cool person and a cool mom. I got lucky enough to play Morticia. On IMDB, right across the board you stand up for your causes and you don’t let anybody say anything. If someone says something stupid, you’re in their face. I love the story about you standing up to Tom Cruise and then in the end, him apologizing, and also inviting you to the wedding. It was just such a triumph because you just didn’t win; you won him over, which is a big difference. It wasn’t about winning, and it wasn’t even about winning him over. It was about him making a mistake that was bringing a lot of attention to something he believed in but that he wasn’t knowledgeable about. If you respond purely and honestly every time, and you don’t try to affect people for the wrong reasons, that’s all you can be accountable for. I can’t claim anything else other than my own experiences, and what I’ve learned from those experiences. The unfortunate thing was that he was trying to prove one point and he just barked up the wrong tree. I even said that to him when he apologized. I was like, “You didn’t even do your own cause any good,” and he said he got backed into a wall and got attacked. I’m always the first one to say I made a mistake, but there’s nothing else I can do after that but move on and be human. Everybody knows the 2-dimensional you, from print ads to movies and TV, and now you’re on stage which is such a 3-D, human thing. What happens now? What is it that you want to shout out to the world? Every step of the way, I’m never what people think I am.That’s the thing.That’s the point of it. I’m never going to be put into one category, and that is the problem. That’s why my acting career is not one thing. That’s why my persona is not one thing. I can’t…I don’t know why, but I never get to be one category, and therefore that’s why I am a jack of all trades, a master of it.

Gisele Bundchen and Other Foot-in-Mouth Moments

People have been looking for a good reason to hate Gisele Bundchen for a long time. Her hair is perfect, she has the best body in the Western Hemisphere, she’s married to the most attractive football player of all time, and she never really says too much one way or the other. It’d be way easier to hate her if she was a crazy blogger/Tweeter and expressed all of her innermost feelings publicly, like ANTM’s Adrianne Curry or Lindsay Lohan. But this week, Gisele anti-fans and mothers everywhere are hatin’ on the supermodel thanks to an interview in Harpers Bazaar UK in which Gisele tells her interviewer that she wishes there were a “worldwide law” that would force mothers to “breastfeed their babies for six months.” Hard advice to take from a millionaire supermodel with a flat stomach, great hair, and a smokin’ hot, rich husband. What other incidents should’ve been cut short by more vigilant PR reps? Several instances after the jump.

First, there was that whole Tom Cruise vs Brooke Shields debacle, though the two must’ve cleared things up since then as Shields accepted an invite to the Cruise/Holmes lavish nuptials in Italy. The tiff stemmed from Shields’ known use of the anti-depressant Paxil to combat postpartum depression, and Cruise’s Scientology-minded views against mood-altering drugs. He told Matt Lauer that “All it does is mask the problem, Matt. And if you understand the history of it, it masks the problem. That’s what it does. That’s all it does. You’re not getting to the reason why. There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance.” In a New York Times article, Shields retorted with, “I’m going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression,”

Carrie Prejean, Miss USA 2009 runner-up, told judge Perez Hilton that she disagreed with gay marriage because that’s just how she was raised. “In my country and my family, I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman.” This met with a huge backlash from gay rights activists and people who do not live in the Midwest. She was later stripped (no pun intended) of her Miss California USA crown after the release of an at-home porno went viral on the internet. She’s still an idol for Fox News affiliates.

John Mayer can be hilarious, but he could also benefit from some censorship in a big way. In a Playboy article earlier this year, Mayer got into his views of dating black women. “I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.” No way to spin that? Nope. Not at all.

This is in his defense:

Note: At least Gisele (aka the most beautiful woman in the world, ever) apologized to overworked moms worldwide via her blog. “My intention in making a comment about the importance of breastfeeding has nothing to do with the law. It comes from my passion and beliefs about children. Becoming a new mom has brought a lot of questions, I feel like I am in a constant search for answers on what might be the best for my child. It’s unfortunate that in an interview sometimes things can seem so black and white. I am sure if I would just be sitting talking about my experiences with other mothers, we would just be sharing opinions. I understand that everyone has their own experience and opinions and I am not here to judge. I believe that bringing a life into this world is the single most important thing a person can undertake and it can also be the most challenging. I think as mothers we are all just trying our best.” Aw.

Behind the Scenes Video for BlackBook’s Denim Issue

Yves Saint Laurent once said, “I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity — all I hope for in my clothes.” Brooke Shields cooed “Nothing gets in the way of me and my Calvins.” Sid Vicious’s last wish was to be buried with his “jeans and motorcycle boots,” next to his baby of course. In BlackBook’s Denim Issue, you’ll find denim lovers and denim haters, cruising with Zooey Deschanel, bitching with Alexa Chung, kvetching with Noah Baumbach, shopping with Crispin Glover, and a Denim iPhone App where you can cruise, kvetch and shop all on your own. Here’s a behind the scenes at the making of the Denim Issue.

Music and lyrics, “Goldie Locks,” by — who else? — White Denim.

Links: Lady Gaga + Kanye West Fame-Killed, Flavor Flav’s Multiple Reality

● It’s not April Fool’s Day, so I have to assume that James Franco joining the cast of General Hospital is not a joke. [EW] ● There might be a Ramones bio-pic in the works based on the upcoming memoir I Slept With Joey Ramone, written by Joey’s brother. And here’s five reasons why this movie shouldn’t be made. [Billboard, Spin] ● Lady Gaga and Kanye West have cancelled their “Fame Kills” tour, presumably because they took the title of their tour to heart. [AP]

● A provocative photo of a ten-year-old Brooke Shields has been pulled from the Tate Modern for fear it would be a “magnet for pedophiles.” [Popeater] ● Amanda Seyfried thought current boyfriend and former Mamma Mia co-star Dominic Cooper was gay when they first meet because of his British-ness and keen sense of dress. [MonstersandCritics] ● Flavor Flav has many more real moments to share with you — that’s why he has another reality show in the works, as well as a talk show, and he’s also going back to high school. [AllHipHop]

Links: Carine Roitfeld Recycles, Suri Cruise’s Toddler Heels

● Carine Roitfeld debunked fashion faux-pas tradition by re-wearing a Tom Ford YSL Fall ‘03 skirt to London Fashion Week. [Fashionolgie] ● Looks like Disney is planning to roll out some serious fashion as a tie-in to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. A Disney rep teased that the “collection will include a number of surprises that will connect fashion conscious folks to the whimsy of ‘Alice In Wonderland.’” [LAT] ● Molly Sims takes on Brooke Shields’ Latisse eyelash extension commercials in a Funny or Die video, calling their eyelash extension product Lashisse like a “penis pump” but for women. [FunnyorDie]

● Those toddler heels Suri Cruise was reported to have been wearing on a shopping trip with mom Katie were just dance shoes … with heels attached. [JustJared] ● Tim Burton was once going to direct a Superman reboot with Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel. The movie never got off the ground, but Burton’s costume test with Cage has surfaced, and it’s hilarious. [DenofGeek]

Links: Lady Gaga Broke & Fabulous, Britney Spears as Potential Jewess

● It doesn’t come cheap looking like Lady Gaga, although she’s often caught with no pants; her lavish wardrobe and shows have bankrupted the singer four times. [TheSun] ● Despite rumors to the contrary, Disney starlet Raven Symone did not give birth to a child recently. [JustJaredJr] ● Ryan Renyolds let it slip that he and wife Scarlett Johansson plan to adopt — although not any time soon. [US]

● Brooke Shields reveals that during the course of her friendship with Michael Jackson, he often asked her to marry him; she politely declined offering lifelong friendship rather than a short-lived marriage. [SFGate] ● Britney Spears is reportedly going through yet another change. First she was a Baptist, then she followed Kabbalah, and now she might take up Judaism. [AceShowbiz] ● Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is finally in the can — it will run a 2½ hours, just one minute more than its Cannes debut. [ThePlaylist]

Links: Kiefer Sutherland’s Daughterly Drinks, Brooke Shields’ Maidenhead Regrets

● After several DUIs and a most infamous head-butting assault, Kiefer Sutherland is still bar-hopping; he was seen out with his daughter Sarah Jude at LES bar Libation. No injuries were reported. [P6] ● Ben Affleck likes to joke that his kids are so cute, he wonders if they’re his — much to wife Jennifer Garner’s chagrin. [AllNewsWeb] ● If Robert Pattinson’s American accent sounds familiar, it’s because the British actor borrows from his favorite actors like James Dean and Jack Nicholson. [MyParkMag]

● Spencer Pratt has declined an invitation to fight Jason Wahler by saying that if he fought every “homophobic racist loser,” he would have no time to be “he most famous person in the world.” [OKMag] ● Brooke Shields regrets losing her virginity at 22, saying: “I had the public and this pressure, and I wish I had just gotten it over with in the beginning.” [US] ● Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are setting down roots in Melbourne so Katie can shoot her new film Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. [News]