Dana started this blog in 2013 as a way to open a window into the pastry kitchens at Blackbird and Avec restaurants in chicago where she helmed the pastry teams. In 2015, Dana accepted a position as Culinary Director for a start-up grass grazed dairy company called 1871 Dairy. She stepped out of the restaurant setting, but wanted to continue promoting pastry departments and those working their hearts out inside each one. Dana has begun writing for two online publications, Chefs Feed and Lucky Peach, and will continue to share her work here on this site. But the real stars of this site are now the authors who take time between their long shifts to bring us a glimpse of what the pastry profession looks like in their lives today. She is beyond excited to follow along with the authors, from the established pastry chefs to young pastry cooks alike!
Leigh is the executive pastry chef at Nico Osteria in chicago. While her official position ties her to a restaurant, owned and operated by One Off Hospitality, it comes with all the pastry duties of the Thompson Hotel the restaurant resides within. The lovely desserts she creates for Nico Osteria are just the tip of the iceberg, and her position requires creation of banquet desserts, breakfast pastries, in room amenities, specialty cakes, gelatos. Even more hidden from view, is the rigorous cost, labor, inventory, and menu management that comes with working in a Hotel. It’s unglamorous, but in a way fascinating to understand how much it takes to prepare the foods we enjoy when in a hotel. Her true love is for macarons, a passion that took her into the workshop of Pierre Herme where she fine tuned her own technique learning from the godfather of the modern macaron.
Danielle Snow is an up and coming pastry cook and food writer currently residing in Chicago. She has experiene in some of Chicago’s most celebrated restaurants, Blackbird, Girl and The Goat, and Lula Cafe. Her posts will take us deep into the interworking of a cooks day, sharing the in’s and out’s of working the pastry line. Her well written posts offer otherwise invisible insight into restaurant pastry departments, as she climbs the ladder towards pastry-chefdom.
Ron Mendoza is the Pastry Chef at the highly celebrated restaurant Aubergine, on the California Coast of Carmel-By-The-Sea. His work is both ground-breaking and grounded, and his thoroughly developed philosophies and refined style put him at the top of the pastry industry. At risk of being overlooked for his remote location, he is opening a window here to the remarkable work he and his small team are doing at Aubergine. A true mentor for young pastry chefs, Ron will share guidance, as well as he beautiful desserts for all to see. Hopefully his work will not be lost in the obscurity of his location, as you will see, his contribution to the world of restaurant pastry is immense and noteworthy.
Harry Flager is a pastry cook at large, and quite possibly the most well staged pastry cook in existence. Opting to study at Columbia instead of culinary arts, Harry took his practical education into his own hands and staged in pastry departments through out new york while earning his degree. He has extended these educational positions to both Australia and Asia, making him one of the most interesting people to talk to about desserts. One day, I suspect he will be able to say, “I’ve seen it all” and mean it quite literally. He comes to share with us the stories and discoveries of his wild adventures past, and those to come.