Dea(r)th of the Pastry Chef
We saw an integral shift in the pastry chef’s mentality in 2010, as sweets experts left their bakeshops in droves to put their spin on the savory side of things. This movement has only increased—with Alex Stupak’s Empellon and Johnny Iuzzini leaving Jean Georges (for what he suggest, and we predicted last year, will include a mixology spin). But their exodus has left the pastry arena in the dust. While the major markets of Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago all have bona fide mentors when it comes to the sweet life (Sherry Yard, Michael Laskonis, and Mindy Segal, just to name a few), we’ve seen a lack of dessert inspiration in smaller markets, including Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Francisco. While part of this is due to economic realities—as chefs forgo the pastry chef salary and attempt the dessert menu themselves—we hope to see the kind of boom in young pastry blood that Chicago recently underwent. Because the bottom line is that bakeshop talent not only makes the most of inexpensive pastry product, but it also elevates a good meal into a great one.