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The Confectionery King

Sweet Karma Desserts rises in Plainview

It’s no more crowded quarters for pastry chef Brian Fishman. In his new shop in Plainview he has a large store to show off his pastries and cakes, a commodious kitchen and a separated kitchen to bake gluten-free pastries.

One-of-a-kind cakes are his specialty: beautiful, whimsical or even grotesque -- as illustrated by his recent bloody-mouthed Jaws cake (that’s what the groom wanted!). Sweet Karma manager Theresa Siegel will help you figure out just what you want. Fishman and his crew will do the rest.

Fishman, who grew up in Merrick, originally thought his career was going to be in advertising so he studied design, but later veered into culinary arts. He attended the Culinary Institute of America.

“But I wasn’t satisfied with my baking skills, And made it a point to study with the best bakers, such as Francois Payard,” he said. “I had wonderful pastry mentors.”

While Fishman was cooking in the kitchen at Panama Hatties in Huntington, owner Blake Verity got tired of doing desserts and asked Fishman to try his hand; three months later he was the popular restaurant’s pastry chef.

Sweet Karma offers around 20 individual desserts daily, with delicious names like Key Lime Dream, Campfire S’Mores, Chocolate Indulgence and Raspberry Desire. Customers often comment on the beauty of his desserts, often with the highest compliment: that his cakes out-do many of his Manhattan contemporaries.

Very popular are Karma Cups—shot glasses of flavored mousse, custard, crème and ganache. Sixty percent of the business is for private caterers, private chefs and restaurants, such as Café Formaggio in Carle Place, which features Fishman’s gluten-free cakes on their menu, and the Nautilus Cafe in Freeport. These days Fishman says that sweet 16 parties, bar and bat mitzvahs and first birthdays are starting to pass weddings as a source of business.

Gluten-free requests are growing too. Fishman began making gluten-free cakes eight years ago when he noted that two children at a birthday party were not eating any cake. He found out they had celiac disease. He got educated on gluten and what needed to be done to make the pastries safe for his customers. The pastries are baked in a separate area in the back of the kitchen; one oven is dedicated to gluten-free baking; and the finished cakes are kept in their own display case. Every day there are approximately a dozen gluten-free items and they look and taste just as delicious as the regular ones.

Future plans for Sweet Karma include cake-decorating classes. “For a big burly guy, I do nice pretty cakes,” he said.

Sweet Karma is located at 136 Manetto Hill Rd. in Plainview. For more information, call 516-794-4478.