Interview with New Orleans Rising Star Pastry Chef Patrick Wellman of Coquette

by Caroline Hatchett
February 2016

Caroline Hatchett: How did you get your start?
Patrick Wellman:
 I started on savory side. When I got to New Orleans, I got a job at Rare Cuts. When I started, it was a meat shop ,as well. I started off working in the store front and would help out at private dinners. Then, I learned about breads. Through chefs I worked with I developed a love of putting things on a plate, having people get to know you. It was a great way for me to express myself. Eventually I got into pastry. The precision, why things do what they do—it catered to my personality. 

CH: Who's your mentor?
PW:
Zac [Miller] is my pastry mentor.

CH: What is your development process like?
PW:
I try to take something familiar. Take cookies and cream for example. I needed a new dessert, and I have a big sweet tooth. I went out and got something sweet—got Oreo cookies and and ice cream bar. Two days later, I had [Black Fudge Cookies, Vanilla Marshmallow, Milk Sorbet, Caramelized Cocoa, and Chocolate Sauce] on the menu. 

CH: What's your biggest challenge at Coquette? 
PW:
Overthinking things when I’m not even here. Now that it’s my pastry kitchen, I’m here all the time—sometimes 10 a.m. through service. 

CH: What's your five year plan?
PW:
I’m so new. I’m really not sure where I want to end up. Right now I’m really just developing my skills with plated desserts. Four years ago, it wasn’t what I thought I would be doing.