CMC's Very Own Motley Boy
December 12, 2009
by Dan Evans
Kris Brown is up to his elbows in chocolate. Surrounding him are bowls full of it, liquid chocolate, solid chocolate, chocolate covered utensils, chocolate covered everything. At the center of it all stands the Seattlite, smiling, reveling in the environment, and only slightly less covered than the items within his grasp.
Brown is making truffles, melting down gourmet chocolate he buys in bulk and creating ganache from scratch. It's a weekly ritual, usually taking place on Sunday afternoon, with the CMC junior making a batch of nearly 150 truffles. He sells these truffles through the Motley coffeehouse on the Scripps College campus. Brown works as an independent contractor, splitting the proceeds with the Motley. The results are both delicious and successful, with the small chocolates selling out at a dollar a piece in only a few days. With finals week in full swing, the demand has gone up significantly, and Brown plans to make an extra-large batch to help fuel late-night study sessions.
"The most recent batch sold out in about 10 hours at the Motley," says Brown. "People have always told me I should increase prices on these things, and seeing how fast they sell out it's definitely 'commercially viable.' But the money isn't a driving factor for me. I want to provide good food without a high cost associated with it; I want to expand people's horizons with what they expect out of a piece of chocolate."
The flavors are perhaps the most notable part of the truffles, as a different trio of ganaches appears each week. Certain flavors are given creative names, such as the "Peaches" truffle, a vanilla, cherry, and almond combination bearing the nickname of CMS's All-American hammer thrower Taylor Berliant. Says Brown: "If someone inspires the flavor of the truffle, I name it after that person. They usually get free chocolate, too."
Despite the truffles' popularity, few know that they come from a CMC student, although they might not be surprised to hear it's one with such a strong resume in the culinary arts. Brown is the manager of The Shakedown, Pitzer's student-run restaurant and over the summer he interned as a prep cook at Seattle's renowned restaurant Tilth. For the fall semester, Brown moved off campus, allowing him to improve his cooking with a full kitchen. Besides his culinary duties, Brown finds time to run cross country, competing for the Stags during their successful fall run.
Sadly though, the supply of truffles is in jeopardy for the spring semester. Brown will be abroad in Nepal, cultivating his palate for exotic spices, and therefore unable to contribute. As of now, the duties will be falling to Harvey Mudd freshmen Kate Crawford, who will continue the tradition in the spring. Nevertheless, this week is your last chance to try Brown's special recipe, which he bills as "sentimental chocolate." The final batch will go on sale in the Motley sometime Sunday evening. Best to be there early, they're sure to go fast.