Dan’s Taste 2021 Chefs Countdown: Carlos Barbosa, Newlight Breadworks

Chef Carlos Barbosa of Newlight Breadworks
Chef Carlos Barbosa of Newlight Breadworks

Head baker of the East End’s 2020-born Newlight Breadworks, Carlos Barbosa is a master in his craft and a leader in his field, having previously displayed his baking prowess at Danny Meyer’s Manhatta, Meyers Bageri and Dominique Ansel Bakery. He comes to Dan’s Taste of Two Forks this August to share his delicious baked goods with our honored dinner guests.

For tickets and more information on all Dan’s Taste 2021 events, visit DansTaste.com.

First word (or words) that comes to mind when you hear “Taste of Summer?”

Burnt hot dogs and watermelon margaritas.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

From the perpetual competition with myself to constantly improve as a baker and as a leader.

You can invite three people, living or dead, to your dinner party. Who are they, and what would that meal be?

Carl Sagan, Abraham Lincoln and Albert Einstein. I would make us my mom’s pernil, a Puerto Rican specialty, with rice, beans and fried
plantains.

What’s your favorite dish to prepare, and do you enjoy eating it as much as preparing it?

If we’re talking breads, I might be addicted to making croissants. There are very few things in the baking world that provide me as much satisfaction as a perfect honeycomb crumb. Perhaps contrary to popular belief, I don’t eat bread or sweets that much at all!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

You need to be able to trust yourself and trust your hands in the food industry. Confidence is imperative to success. On the other hand, we have to acknowledge our mistakes and shortcomings and be honest with ourselves. We can only do our best.

Share your funniest, most unforgettable or oddest kitchen
incident.

My very first day at Dominique Ansel, I was in charge of making 40kg of lime curd. We had a device there that would cook mixtures to a designated temperature and also cool them efficiently to ensure food safety standards.

When it came time to extract the mixture into containers I, for some reason, pulled the dispensing spigot way too quickly and ended up with roughly 20kg of lime curd all over my chef jacket, pants and shoes. It was my “welcome to the industry” moment.

Who do you most admire in the food/wine world and why?

I admire that we are becoming more and more aware of the importance of sustainability and buying local. I also admire that two strangers from the food industry can instantly click and become close friends almost immediately. Food industry people are built differently.

What is going to be the “next big thing” on the East End food scene?

I’m hoping it’s Newlight Breadworks.

What are your hobbies, passions and interests outside the world of food, wine and work?

I am a huge hockey fan (Rangers) and will get on skates from time to time, I have two guitars, looking to purchase a third soon, and I’m also sort of a huge aviation and astronomy nerd.

What’s your comfort food and why?

I love Italian food. I grew up eating it and in the worst days, I’m likely ordering some chicken parm or francese with plenty of pasta.

If you were not in the food or wine business, what would you be doing?

I would likely be a massage therapist or an aircraft pilot in some capacity.

What is the most memorable thing you’ve ever tasted?

Might be the mofongo from Gonzales Seafood Restaurant in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. This place is the real deal.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

I’m mostly proud that I’m able to understand bread on a different level and communicate and teach my teams how to understand things differently as well. There are few greater feelings than watching that “uh-huh I get it!” look on my team members faces as they surprise themselves, grow and demolish obstacles.

What has surprised you the most about working in the East End culinary scene?

I’m surprised at how much chefs and consumers actually love and respect bread and its processes. It’s quite comforting, and I love the trend the bread industry is on.

What is your go-to karaoke song?

Might have to go with “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. Classic.

It’s your last weekend on earth—what’s the menu?

For breakfast we’re having chicken and waffles from Queens Comfort (R.I.P.) with bottomless mimosas. For lunch, we’re going to get quesabirria from Peter’s Crunchy Red tacos in Brooklyn. And for dinner, I’m inclined to cook up a porterhouse in my circulator with roasted Brussels and potatoes with a glass of a bold red. Less is more.

Learn more about Newlight Breadworks at hamptonsourdough.com.

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