Local Chef Hopes The Portuguese Pastel de Nata Pastry Will Be A Hit

Chef Michael Guerrieri has unleashed a tasty pastry from Portugal called Pastel de Nata on Long Island through an agreement with wholesaler Restaurant Depot who is now carrying them in ten locations.

When the monks at an 18th century Portuguese monastery began making Pastel de Nata out of the leftover yolks from a clothes-starching process that only required egg whites, little did they know that hundreds of years later Bethpage High School Hall of Famer Chef Michael Guerrieri would make the little pastries famous on Instagram. But that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Chef Guerrieri, Italian-born Long Islander who moved to Portugal to start up a number of popular restaurants in Lisbon and then came back home to found his Smart’Wich sandwich shop, films the reactions of people trying the delectable treat for the first time and posts them to his social media page @firstpasteldenatabite. It turns out that Pastel de Nata first impressions are delightful.

“Much better than s-x,” one man deadpans.

Others are left speechless while Chef Guerrieri’s infectious laugh punctuates their expressions.

“If  a croissant and a crème brûlée were to have a baby, this is what would pop out,” Chef Guerrieri says when describing the Portuguese pastry to LongIslandRestaurants.com recently.

He’s not far off.

Chef Michael Guerrieri making Pastel de Nata

“All Portuguese make these,” he said. “You simply travel for your favorite.”

Chef Guerrieri, with the collaboration of his Portuguese friends, thinks he’s got the closest thing you can get to an authentic Pastel de Nata without hopping on a plane to Portugal.

If you’ve ever been to Lisbon, chances are you’ve taken a trip to Pasteis De Belem, the famous house next door to Jeronimos Monastery where the Pastel de Nata was born. At Pasteis De Belem they sell an average of 15,000 Pasteis de Nata per day!

After perfecting the Pastel de Nata here, Chef Guerrieri wanted to distribute them beyond his shop in Hicksville so he turned to Restaurant Depot, the nationwide wholesale food supplier. Right now they are distributing the Pastel de Nata from ten Restaurant Depot locations in New York and New Jersey to the mouths of Pastel de Nata newbies and to those who know about the pastry but haven’t quite found the authentic kind Chef Guerrieri makes. 

“Lidl sells these but when you taste theirs and then ours, the difference is like tasting a pizza from Naples and frozen pizza,” he said.

That quality is what he hopes will inspire food shops and markets all over Long Island to pick up his pastries at their local Restaurant Depot. Chef Guerrieri says he has the capacity to produce upwards of 10,000 Pastel de Nata pastries per hour if needed. He’s been waiting to get the Pastel de Nata into some kind of distribution outlet and Restaurant Depot took the chance.

“They were looking for something new,” he said. “Out of the norm.”

According to Chef Guerrieri, the pastries are more of a snack in between meals than just an after dinner treat.

“It is a dessert to the American palette but to Europeans we can pop them in our mouths all day,” he said. “We eat them all day.”

Chef Guerrieri hopes now that the Pastel de Nata will be available at Restaurant Depot, people will ask for them by name, something that has been a little difficult for Americans so far.

“They ask, ‘do you have those tarts?’” he said with his signature laugh. “Nobody can say the word.”

📷 Chef Michael Guerrieri.

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