Pastry Chef Brooks Headley of Del Posto - Biography

New York, NY

October 2011

Brooks Headley didn’t intend to become a pastry chef. A punk rock drummer from a food-obsessed Calabrian family, with a bachelor's degree in English language and literature, Headley literally fell into restaurant work at age 27. Before no time (and with no formal training) he had caught the pastry bug and, with the help of a seemingly preternatural ability, Headley was in deep in the Washington, DC restaurant world. After working at Galileo da Roberto Donna, The Ritz-Carlton, and Tosca, Headley moved to Los Angeles where he spent time in the kitchen under master bread baker Nancy Silverton at Campanile.

Unable to stay away from the East coast, Headley crossed the country again to return to DC, this time to assume a position at acclaimed Komi, where he ran the pastry program. He made his New York debut briefly at Compass, where he became known for imaginative renditions of classic desserts, as in his signature deconstructed key lime pie. But as soon as he discovered that Del Posto was in need of a pastry chef, he leaped at the opportunity to join the Batali-Bastianich family, work under Executive Chef Mark Ladner, and return to his Italian roots.

At Del Posto, Headley melds his innovative techniques with classic Italian flavors for desserts that are forward-thinking, highly seasonal, and comforting. He often incorporates vegetables into the desserts (something Lidia Bastianich demands), as in Lidia's Sweet Pea Sformato with Tri-Star Strawberries and Strawberry Gelato. In 2009 Headley was selected as a finalist in the Pastry Scoop Golden Scoop Awards in the national category of "Best Dessert Menu." He also recently traveled to Japan to teach Italian dessert classes at the Hankyu Department Store in Osaka.