Rising Star Pastry Chef Michelle Palazzo of Frenchette - Biography

New York, NY

November 2020

Frenchette Pastry Chef Michelle Palazzo knew she wanted to get into the food world since her childhood in Massapequa, New York. She loved cooking shows, learned to poach an egg and bake a souffle at Viking’s cooking camp (Yes, this is a thing.), and volunteered for bake sales all through high school. She moved to the city to attend the Institute of Culinary Education for pastry and restaurant management. Although she didn’t love culinary school, a trip to Italy and an impactful externship at Nico, where she spent her hours candying ginger, solidified her commitment to pastry work.

Palazzo’s first full-time gig was in 2012 at Reynard at the Wythe Hotel, where she quickly worked up to pastry sous. When her mentor, Rising Stars alum Pastry Chef Erin Kanagy-Loux, took maternity leave, Palazzo subbed as executive pastry chef. Palazzo spent a brief stint back with Kanagy-Loux at Mah-Ze-Dahr Bakery before connecting with the team behind Balthazar and Pastis, Chefs Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr, who were planning to open a new French bistro, Frenchette. With Palazzo running the dessert brigade, Frenchette has received accolades from Eater, Bon Appétit, the James Beard Awards, and The New York Times. (Pete Wells was dining during Palazzo’s first night of service—They received three stars.) In her two-year tenure there, Palazzo has developed some of her most creative plates yet, such as a cloud-like tarte au riz and a borderline-savory olive oil tarte tatin.