Chad Guay
Table 1280
1280 Peachtree Rd
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 897-1280

Recipe »

Antoinette Bruno:When and why did you start cooking? What inspired you to pursue cooking professionally?
Chad Guay: When I was growing up my mom would make these amazing cakes. When I got out of high school, the first thing I wanted to do was work in a kitchen. I loved the stress, the pressure, the heat. I wanted to go to culinary school.

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Pastry Chef Chad Guay
Table 1280 |Atlanta

A graduate of the Art Institute of Atlanta, Chad Guay has held positions in kitchens around Atlanta, staging at the The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton under Chef Bruno Menard and a working with both Gary Mennie and Carvel Grant-Gould at Canoe. He moved to Orlando to help Chef Todd Immel open Luma on Park; it was during his time at Luma that he began to focus on pastry.

Guay returned to Atlanta and transitioned into working for pastry chef Jonathan St. Hilaire, making pastry for various venues around Atlanta. In 2006, Chad once again teamed up with Immel, this time at Table 1280, the sleek, spacious and modern restaurant across from the High Museum of Modern Art. Guay’s flavor profile leans towards the sweet, but understands the importance of savory. His desserts are bold but not overly sugared; sweet, fruit and rich flavors are tempered by a savory component: stout cake paired with maple, apple and olive oil, and smoked chocolate tart sprinkled with pimenton.

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Interview Cont'd
AB: Where have you worked professionally as a pastry chef?
CG: I worked at the Ritz-Carlton downtown, at Canoe with both Gary Mennie and Carvel Gould, and with Jonathan St. Hilaire, who does pastry for Concentrics Restaurants.

AB: Who are some of your mentors? What have you learned from them?
CG: Jonathan St. Hilaire and Todd Immel, the chef here at Table 1280, are both mentors. My pastry hero is Sam Mason. The type of food he does is gastronomical.

AB: Would you recommend culinary school to aspiring cooks?
CG: I went to the Art Institute in Atlanta. I would recommend culinary school, although they often give you an ego that isn’t really deserved. They lead you to believe you can walk out as an executive chef. They teach you the basic techniques, but the rest you have to learn for yourself.

AB: What are your top three tips for pastry success?
CG: 1) Practice
      2) Math skills – they’re so important for pastry!
      3) Take advice from your executive chef.

AB: Is there any ingredient that you feel is particularly under-appreciated or underutilized?
CG: No, but my three favorite and most essential ingredients are 40% cream, glucose, and butter.

AB: What are a few of your favorite flavor combinations?
CG: Hazelnut and pomegranate, 75% bittersweet chocolate and passion fruit, and peaches and vanilla.

AB: What is your most indispensable kitchen tool?
CG: An offset spatula. I always need it so I keep it in my back pocket. It allows me to have a delicate touch.

AB: Please describe a culinary technique that you have either created of borrowed and used in an unusual way.
CG: I use a smoker to infuse flavors into a variety of products, including chocolate, cheeses, and powders.

AB: What are your favorite cookbooks?
CG: Desserts and Pastries by Alain Ducasse, Sweet Cuisine by Frederic Bau.

AB: Where do you like to go for culinary travel? Why?
CG: Spain for their dairy products like cheese, cream, and butter, and San Francisco for their raw products and organic fruits.

AB: What are your favorite restaurants-off the beaten path-in your city?
CG: Fickle Pickle for fried pickles and gourmet sandwiches.

AB: What is your pastry philosophy?
CG: My desserts and ideas are constantly evolving and I believe everything I do is good only at the present time and everything develops into something better. Nothing is ever good enough.

AB: Which person in history would you like to cook for? Whose food would you like to eat?
CG: I’d like to cook a pecan crisp with muscadine ice cream for Charlie Trotter, and I’d like to eat Daniel Boulud’s food.

AB: If you weren’t a pastry chef what do you think you’d be doing?
CG: Working on the computer, probably doing computer software sales.

AB: What does ultimate success mean for you? What will it look like for you?
CG: I love Atlanta and enjoy being a player in the pastry scene. The ultimate success, in my mind, would be teaching and using my cookbook as part of the curriculum. If I make it to that point it means I have reached all of my other goals.


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   Published: September 2007