Rising Star Pastry Chef Aaron Russell of Restaurant Eugene - Biography

Atlanta, GA

May 2012

Growing up in the mountains of North Georgia, Pastry Chef Aaron Russell developed an appreciation for all nature had to offer—and particularly for the seasonal flora of his native Southern home.

With that love of nature firmly rooted in his soul, Russell turned toward the kitchen, and a career that meant working with his hands. He worked his way through culinary school while baking bread at night at Atlanta’s Breadgarden. After graduating, Russell became pastry chef for Johannes Klapdohr at Nikolai’s Roof, the first restaurant in the Southeast to receive four Mobil Stars. Four stars led to five when Russell earned a spot on the pastry team at The Dining Room in the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, one of only 15 restaurants in North America with five Mobil Stars. At The Dining Room, Russell’s career path was cemented working under the strict tutelage of Chef Bruno Menard and Pastry Chef Manabu Inoue. And after Inoue’s departure to New York, Menard promoted Russell (at a young 23) to become the youngest five-star pastry chef in the country.

Russell lived up to the pressure and took his experience to Guenter Seeger’s eponymous restaurant. Seeger’s austere approach to local, organic ingredients and simple preparations greatly influenced Russell’s style—now on delicious display at 2007 Atlanta Rising Star Chef Linton Hopkins’s Restaurant Eugene. Hopkins tapped the three-time James Beard “Outstanding Pastry Chef” nominee to run his pastry program in November 2010. More than two years later he’s making modern desserts that speak to his appreciation of natural-style; Russell’s desserts often present bold savory combinations, flavors, and textures. And his efforts made it easy to choose him as one of Atlanta's 2012 Rising Stars.