Chef's Choice - Derek's Culinary Casual: Derek Barnes' gougeres

We love to go to Sarasota and eat at Beard-nominated chef Derek Barnes’ restaurant for his innovative take on food, for his devotion to hand-crafting everything from cured meats to pasta, and for incredible desserts like his poached pear with goat cheese ice cream and black pepper caramel sauce. To be honest, though, what we look forward to most isn’t even on the menu: his steamy, creamy and luxurious gougeres.

Barnes’ cheesy French pastry puffs are an easy and decadent take on restaurant bread service that shows from the very beginning that every single element of your meal has been tailored by the chef. They’re also easy to make at home and incredibly impressive as finger food at a cocktail party. The recipe can easily be halved for smaller groups.

Derek’s Culinary Casual, 514 Central Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-6565,

Recipe after the break: