Chef Mindy Segal of HotChocolate - Biography

Chicago, Illinois

April 2012

Mindy Segal specializes in contemporary American cuisine, placing a modern twist on traditional classics. What makes her one of the best pastry chefs in America is her mastery of temperature, texture and taste. In a word, balance. Chef Segal refined her craft as pastry chef in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the country, with early professional positions stationing her at Spago, Gordon, Charlie Trotter’s, Ambria and MK.

Segal’s subtle combinations of hot and cold, crispy and smooth, salty and sweet raise her desserts to the level of perfection. But her desserts don’t come off as meticulous, manufactured or precious, but rather as heartfelt dishes of pure craftsmanship—a craftsmanship that is rooted in Midwestern wholesomeness and more importantly comfort. Eating one of Mindy’s desserts can transport you back to a fond childhood memory of sweetness that has been taken apart and somehow reassembled into something better.

Mindy’s restaurant, HotChocolate is the culmination of 25+ years of dedication to her craft and the passion she has for the entire culinary experience. The urban café is a marriage of contemporary sweet and savory food, inspired by seasonal, local ingredients. It features an innovative, ever-evolving menu presented with gracious, polished first-class service in a friendly, inviting atmosphere.

Segal was awarded the prestigious James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in the Country in 2012, and was nominated for this category five times prior in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She captured the Jean Banchet award for Best Celebrity Pastry Chef in Chicago and was named Pastry Chef of the Year by Chicago Magazine. In 2008, 2009 and 2010 she was recognized for her commitment to sustainability as guest chef for Outstanding in the Field. Segal was named Share Our Strength’s 2009 Chef of the Year for her dedication to Taste of the Nation, the country's premier culinary benefit dedicated to ending childhood hunger with events in more than 45 cities across the U.S. and Canada. She served as a national spokesperson for Whole Foods Market in 2010, an ambassador for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and a spokesperson for the Idaho Potato Commission. Mindy has been called “Sugar Fiend of the Year” by Alan Richman of GQ and her Chicago restaurant, HotChocolate was named one of the best breakfast spots in the country in the William Sonoma Breakfasts Comforts Cookbook, as well as one of the best savory spots in the America by USA Today.

Most recently, Chef Segal appeared on The Today Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The Food Network, The Cooking Channel and First Look. Her work has been featured in O Magazine, GQ, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, CHOW.com, Bon Appétit, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.