CLAUDIA FLEMING Pastry Chef, Gramercy Tavern, NY
1994: Becomes the pastry chef at the renowned Gramercy Tavern.
Claudia Fleming was born on Long Island, New York and dedicated most of her first twenty-five years to the pursuit of a career in modern dance. She attended the dance conservatory associated with the Hartford Ballet Company where she received her teacher's certification and training. When Claudia was twenty-one, she moved to New York City where she spent four years working with a small modern dance company. Like many other artistic-minded folk, she made her way to the restaurant world in the early 1980s to support her career, working in the dining rooms at Jams and Union Square Cafe. She was immediately attracted to both the theatrical and creative aspects of restaurant work.
During her tenure at Union Square Cafe, Claudia was a member of the hospitality team and worked at various stations in the kitchen. Claudia gravitated to the kitchen, and pastry became her new calling. In 1991, determined to hone her skills, she decided to go directly to the source and study pastry in Paris. After a stint at the prestigious Fauchon, Claudia returned to New York and a new career.
Back in New York City, Claudia delved into pastry making at Montrachet, TriBeCa Grill and Luxe. In 1994 Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio hired Claudia as pastry chef of their new restaurant, Gramercy Tavern - the perfect compliment to their new team. Like the rest of Gramercy Tavern's food, Claudia's baking style relies on the use of seasonal ingredients. She favors creations that maintain the integrity of each ingredient, and is committed to intense flavor over architectural flights of fancy. Her minimalist sensibility, ironically, allows for maximum flavor.
Claudia's work has already been celebrated in publications such as Art Culinaire, Bon Appetit, Chocolatier, New York Magazine, The New York Times, and Time Out New York. She has been named number 42? of Saveur Magazine's "Saveur 100" and "Best Pastry Chef in New York" by Manhattan File. She has also appeared on the "Martha Stewart Living" show.