2022 D.C.-Chesapeake Rising Star Chocolatier Ashleigh Pearson of Petite Soeur

2022 D.C.-Chesapeake Rising Star Chocolatier Ashleigh Pearson of Petite Soeur

Petite Soeur
1332 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20007


When Ashleigh Pearson was growing up in the D.C. area, she dreamed of following her father’s physician footsteps to become a veterinarian. She pursued that goal as a biology major at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, but Pearson began to wonder if her scientific mind could be used for something more creative. An avid home cook and baker, Pearson decided to take a risk and apply to Marcel’s by Robert Wiedmaier. She worked through every station, filling in whenever someone needed an extra hand. Hooked on French cooking, Pearson earned a Le Dames d’Escoffier scholarship to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and two years later, she graduated at the top of her class and stayed on to work as an assistant. 

Pearson returned to the states to stage at Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin-starred Per Se, where she worked under Rising Stars alum Pastry Chef Anna Bolz—an inspiration and mentor to Pearson. She was brought on as a pastry cook, then eventually promoted to head chocolatier. 

Pearson returned to D.C. and decided to launch a chocolate company of her own, called Petite Soeur. She started off selling bonbons by knocking on restaurant doors, but when the COVID-19 pandemic caused many of those restaurants to temporarily shutter, Pearson took it as an opportunity to rent a space and opened a brick and mortar. Now serving both the D.C. restaurant community and the Georgetown neighborhood, Pearson creates a seasonal rotation of bonbons that emphasize complex layers, flavor building, and referencing that flavor with elegantly painted shells.