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Biography

Jacques Torres is ranked among the top pastry chefs in the world. In his years at Executive Pastry Chef at Le Cirque, he elevated his craft to an art form with presentations that were always creative, often whimsical, and sometimes even architectural, making dessert the focal point of the dining experience. Now Jacques has fulfilled his own fantasy - he is a master chocolatier at his own Brooklyn based chocolate factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate.

Jacques entered the world of baking in his hometown of Bandol in the southern region of Provence at the tender age of 15. After two years as an apprentice at a small pastry shop, he completed his apprenticeship requirements and graduated first in his class. Jacques Torres, the artist/chef, was on his way.

In 1980, on a bet with a friend, Jacques approached the Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco and asked for a job. Maximin gave him an hour to return with a chef's coat. An eight-year association with the Negresco began which took him around the globe. At the Negresco, he refined the skills and nurtured an intuitive sense of confectionary artistry, which has been the cornerstone of his career.

From 1980-83, Jacques studied for the degree of Master Pastry Chef after which he taught at a local culinary school in Cannes. During this time, he honed his skills and, in 1986, was awarded the prestigious Meilleur Ouvrier de France medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction.

The list of culinary awards and achievements grew from there including the 1986 French Championship of Desserts and a gold medal from the Japanese Pastry Chef Association. Jacques served as a consultant to Cointreau and Valrhona chocolate, participated in the rededication ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty with Presidents Mitterand and Reagan and spent culinary weeks in Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and Spain. In 1988, Chef Torres moved to the United States where he opened The Ritz-Carlton Rancho Mirage. Soon thereafter, Sirio Maccioni invited him to join Le Cirque where he would oversee an impressive custom-built pastry kitchen. At Le Cirque, Jacques' creations delighted guests from around the world including presidents, kings and celebrities.

In addition to his role as chocolatier and business owner, Jacques serves as Dean of Pastry Studies at New York's French Culinary Institute. He has also opened his kitchen to aspiring students and generously donated his time to many national charities including Meals on Wheels, the American Red Cross and God's Love We Deliver. Chef Torres has participated in Julia Child's Master Chef television series, Pierre Franey's Birthday Celebrations and "Merci Julia", a salute by the world's top culinary professionals to Julia Child. In recent years, he has been named the James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year, the Chef's of America Pastry Chef of the Year and one of Chocolatier Magazine's 10 Best Pastry Chefs. His shows on the Food Network and his two cookbooks have been great commercial successes, testaments to his never waning popularity.



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