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Chef Stephanie Wiitala of S2S dishes on GLCI and restaurant life

Nexus Spring 2019 From Our Kitchens Feature

Chef Stephanie Wiitala of S2S

Her education gave Wiitala, a 2011 graduate, “a fast-forward surge of information and knowledge” about cooking professionally, but nothing replaces the heat of a real kitchen.

For the last year and a half, that’s been at S2S, Sugar 2 Salt, a breakfast restaurant Wiitala runs with her partner, Jonathan Dayton, in the Grand Traverse Commons. They focus on creating seasonally-driven menus emphasizing local ingredients.

Wiitala, who was selected as the Great Lakes Culinary Institute’s 2018 Alumna of the Year, said the ethos of expectations and the expectation of hard work is the lesson she values most.

“Chefs work in a world of expectations all the time,” whether it’s their own, customers, or critics, said Wiitala. As a restaurant owner in a world where one meal can now be heard around the world via social media, it’s critical to remember.

“From the moment they sit down until they walk out the door, we try to discern whether we’ve met our customers’ marks,” she said. “I’m so thankful (GLCI) impressed that upon me from the beginning.”

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S2S signature scones

S2S Signature Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose four
  • 1 1/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (more if you are making a sweet scone/less if you are going savory)
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, plus more for brushing
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (or up to ½ teaspoon if you are making savory)

Combine four, baking powder, baking soda, and granulated sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the four mixture with your hands, incorporating the butter until it makes a coarse mix. A few small butter chunks are OK.

Combine and whisk together the heavy cream and egg in a separate bowl and add any other wet ingredients (from the mix ins below) until you have about a half cup of a mix. Pour into the dry four and butter mix and use a fork to bring together.

Gently add your choice of dry ingredient mix ins. Try not to over mix.

Mound the dough on the work surface and, using the heel of your hand or a pastry scraper, push it together. Press it into a 8-10 inch round, smoothing the top. Press the sides of your hands against the sides of the dough to straighten the edges.

Using a chef s knife, cut the round block of dough into quarters and then crosswise into quarters to make 8 pieces.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (convection) or 350 degrees F (standard).

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Arrange scones 1 inch apart. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes in a convection oven, or 28 to 30 minutes in a standard oven, until golden brown.

Scone dough may also be frozen up to one month. Baking time may be slightly longer when baking from frozen.

Mix Ins to try:

  • Potato-bacon with cheddar and chives
  • Apple carrot cinnamon with raisins and walnuts
  • Pear parsnip with vanilla and walnut
  • Chocolate pecan with sea salted caramel
  • Garden herb with caramelized onions and parmesan
  • Pumpkin, apple, bacon
  • Blueberry sage with lemon glaze
  • Sun dried tomato, basil, mozzarella