Alan Krawitz

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Chef Catherine Schimenti Opening Baked By The Ocean

Catherine Schimenti.

Upscale pastry chef Catherine Schimenti left home on Long Island at 17, only to return 20 years later to open her new bakery, Baked by the Ocean, in Long Beach.

Admitting that “cooking has always been in my blood,” the down-to earth Schimenti, with her signature red-frame glasses and long braids, says she was encouraged by her parents as well as a teacher at Lynbrook High School to make her living in the kitchen.

“I always helped my mom do the baking, cooking at home,” she recalls. “It’s always been natural for me to make food for people.”

Schimenti, now 38, got an early start in the restaurant business working in a local pizzeria before scoring her first cooking gig as a teen at the now-defunct Porthole restaurant in East Rockaway. She did her culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in Providence before switching in her final year to focus on pastry arts exclusively.

“As opposed to traditional cooking, which is more like just turning a raw product into something,” says Schimenti, “there’s a real science to pastry, the blending of ingredients.”

Schimenti’s career took her to some of the finest restaurants, from Balthazar and Gramercy Tavern to Per Se in New York City, before being tapped to oversee pastry at Craft Steak in the Meatpacking District. Her pastry menu was so well received that Schimenti was summoned to Los Angeles to assist with Craft Steak’s LA debut.

“Moving to California was a big deal for me,” recalls Schimenti, who prides herself on being an LI girl.

Following Craft, she moved to San Francisco and joined the fourstar Michael Mina Restaurant as executive pastry chef and later helped to launch Mina’s Bourbon Steak. After arriving back in NY in 2016, Schimenti pursued her long-standing goal of opening her own bakery. She snagged an apartment in trendy SOHO and was “fully committed to looking for bakery space in NYC.”

While looking for real estate in the city, Schimenti consulted for Gelso & Grand in Little Italy, where she worked for a year, helping to revamp the restaurant’s pastry menu. She oversaw the creation of a nearly foot-long cannoli, which gave the venue some buzz.

“I continued to scout potential bakery spots on the Lower East Side, Tribeca, and even NOLITA,” she recalls, but prices were steep, often upwards of $20,000 rent per month. “I couldn’t find anything and that’s when I started coming out to LI every weekend, to
visit friends and family in Lynbrook and Long Beach.”

Schimenti eventually found her bakery location with a little help from her friend.

“I went to dinner and a friend ended up parking in front of a bakery with a for-lease sign,” she recalls. “That didn’t work out, but it led me to my current spot.”

Now that she’s set, Schimenti says her philosophy on pastry is simple.

“I’m going to focus on accessible desserts such as fruit tarts, salted peanut butter tarts, lemon and lime meringue tarts, specialty cakes and even some soft-serve ice cream, sure to be a summer favorite,” she says. “Traditional things with a twist.”

Also, she’ll serve up favorites like black and white and rainbow cookies, macaroons, homemade chocolate boxes, freshly baked cinnamon rolls, and donuts. But the cozy space with seating for 12 won’t be all desserts.

“Savory foods will also be served, such as salads of the day, toasts of the day, Quinoa bowls with veggies and brunch items on weekends,” she says.

And while many chefs are drawn to the glamour of TV, Schimenti eschews show biz.

“I was approached by producers who wanted me for a few cooking shows due to my ‘polished yet approachable,’ attitude, but my focus is on the bakery, not TV,” she adds. “I want my food to speak for itself.”

Baked by the Ocean, scheduled to open in late May, is located at 919 West Beech St. in Long Beach. They can be reached at 516-889-BAKEor bakedbytheocean.com.

Cuomo Talks Gains, Battles at Nassau Democratic Dinner

Gov. Andrew Cuomo teleconferenced in to the gala from Albany (Photo by Thomas DeJosia)

Despite being a last-minute no-show at a high-profile Nassau County fundraiser, Gov. Andrew Cuomo managed to outline ambitious accomplishments from securing funds to improve the Long Island Rail Road to championing wind energy, all while reiterating his disdain for the Trump Administration and the GOP.

Nassau County Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs apologized for Cuomo’s absence to nearly a thousand guests at the committee’s annual spring dinner explaining that he was engaged in “tense,” last-minute budget negotiations in Albany. The state’s budget is due April 1.

During his speech, broadcast from Albany, Cuomo outlined numerous achievements including what he termed the “largest reconstruction in LIRR history,” by securing nearly $6 billion in state funds to help transform the railroad by adding additional tracks, renovating close to 40 stations and building critical infrastructure to increase train capacity by 80 percent.

“The LIRR will be ready to handle the next generation,” he said.

Saying that “politics is a means to an end, to do good things,” Cuomo cited economic progress on LI, pointing out that today there are almost 1.2 million private sector jobs, with unemployment on the island dropping from 7 to 4 percent.

Newly-elected Nassau County Executive Laura Curran called Cuomo a “great Democrat” who understands the importance of building the middle class and championing the Island.

The governor also spoke about ambitious environmental projects, such as one of the nation’s largest off-shore wind-energy arrays, to be built off Long Island called Empire Wind.

Highlighting his progressive record of accomplishments, Cuomo said he was proud of establishing the $15 minimum wage, a strong paid family leave program, and the closure of more prisons than any other administration in state history, thanks to newer sentencing solutions as alternatives to incarceration.

“We passed the marriage equality act four years before the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was discriminatory.”

And, on the heels of sweeping, national anti-gun protests, Cuomo said that New York’s Safe Act is the “smartest gun law in the country.”

The Safe Act vastly broadened gun regulations in the state following the Sandy Hook shooting which took the lives of 20 children and six adults in a Conn. elementary school.
Going forward, Cuomo said there is still much more work to do including more funding for education, better gun legislation and passage of “the best anti-sexual harassment legislation in the nation,” following extensive “me too” campaigns, detailing personal stories of sex harassment that have rocked the media and entertainment world in the last few months.

Taking aim at President Trump and the GOP, Cuomo said that “Republicans are savaging our state,” referring to the passage of a federal tax reform law, detrimental to Island taxpayers by eliminating long-standing property tax deductions.

“Democrats shouldn’t give Donald Trump one dollar for the wall,” he said. “Not one dollar.”

He added that Trump also never made good on his infrastructure program to build bridges.

“That’s what we in New York are about…building bridges, while he’s building a wall,” he said, referencing the replacement of both the old Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn and The Tappan Zee Bridge in Tarrytown.

Cuomo predicted “Democrats will challenge every Republican member of congress in the state in the next election.

“The blue wave that is growing has not even begun to crest.”

Attorney Kathleen Dee Han Dickson and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas
Attorney Howard Festerman and Nassau Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen, North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Nassau County Executive Laura Curran