Join host Tish Boyle, managing editor of Pastry Arts Magazine, as she goes in-depth with prominent pastry and baking figures to explore their journey, lessons and advice to inspire professionals striving for excellence.
David Vidal: From Savory to Pastry, Competitions, Master Classes & Finding Balance
David Vidal was born in Canada, but moved to Malta with this family at the age of 12. His uncle owned a pastry shop there, and the young David worked at the shop after school during the week. He decided to go to culinary school in Malta at the Institute of Tourism Studies and later set out to become a savory chef. His education led him to London where he honed his skills cooking in hotels and restaurants throughout Europe. He and his wife decided to move to his wife’s hometown on the west coast of Sweden, Strömstad, where he became chef at a harborside restaurant at the age of 25. He eventually moved to the Laholmen Hotel in Strömstad, where he currently works as Sous Chef. About five years ago, Vidal began doing pastry again, and posting some of his work on Instagram. The posts of his desserts were so inspirational, that Vidal’s following increased exponentially – today he has over 400,000 followers. Follow him there at @Vidal31.
In this episode we discuss:
David’s first job in the pastry business Attending culinary school and honing his skills in Europe His decision to become a savory chef Competing with the Culinary Team for West of Sweden at the World Cup 2018 His gradual return to pastry How he became an Instagram sensation Teaching Master Classes in pastry around the world How he balances his work with his home life And much more!
Dana Herbert: A Talk with “The King of Cakes”
Known as "The Sugar Daddy" and "King of Cakes," Dana Herbert is the Executive Pastry Chef and owner of Desserts by Dana in Newark, Delaware. Chef Dana began his culinary career when he received a Bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Delaware. He then went on to complete a second Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts and an additional Associates of Arts in Pastry. His first professional cooking job was at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston, working the savory side. But he longed to move to pastry, and he got his opportunity soon after, becoming the In-House Pastry Chef for the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott. In 2011 Chef Dana became well known after he won the first season of TLC’s Cake Boss: Next Great Baker. Chef Dana has appeared on countless television programs and has created cakes for some of the world’s biggest names, including Oprah Winfrey, Ice Cube and Jill Biden. For more info, visit www.dessertsbydana.com.
In this episode you’ll learn:
How Chef Dana’s love of pastry was nurtured as a child How he has dealt with the Covid-19 crisis What it was like to compete and win on Cake Boss: Next Great Baker The biggest challenge of starting his own business The most popular trends in celebration cakes Chef Dana’s biggest career regret His best advice for those just starting their pastry careers And much more!
Caroline Schiff: Gage & Tollner’s Pastry Chef
Widely known under the moniker @pastryschiff, Caroline is a celebrated pastry chef and culinary consultant based in Brooklyn. She got her start in the restaurant industry a decade ago cooking at The Good Fork, and worked her way up through a number of acclaimed restaurants and bakeries including Mas (la Grillade), Maysville NYC, Kenton's NOLA, and Greene Grape Provisions before coming full circle to work with Sohui and Ben once again as Gage & Tollner’s Pastry Chef. Heralded as one of the “Most Badass Female Chefs in New York” by Thrillist, Caroline has been featured on Beat Bobby Flay, Cosmopolitan, Bon Appétit, Chopped, VICE Munchies and The Untitled Action Bronson Show. Caroline’s signature gravity-defying hairdo is outsized only by her enormous heart; in her spare time you can find her either supporting charitable causes or running a marathon.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
How an out-of-control sweet tooth and a year in France convinced Caroline to pursue a career as a pastry chef How she turned an internship into a full-time job cooking on the line How she came by the moniker of being one of the “Most Badass Female Chefs in New York” How she landed the coveted position of Pastry Chef at the highly anticipated Gage & Tollner restaurant in Brooklyn, and what her plans are for the dessert menu About her involvement with Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in New York, and the importance of giving back to the community How she deals with the stress of working long days in the kitchen And much more!
Karim Bourgi: Creativity, Inspiration, Garnishes & More
Born in Senegal of Lebanese parents, Karim Bourgi moved to Paris at the age of 16. After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu Paris in 2001, he began his career in Beirut at La Cigale, followed by Laduree Paris Champs Élysée, Makyan Traiteur, Goû Beirut, and Fauchon Paris in Dubai. Currently, he is the head pastry chef of Al Mana Group, and the regional development and creation chef for La Maison du Chocolat Paris. He believes that excellence is achieved by virtue of persistence and surrendering to true passion in pastry.
In this episode we discuss:
Chef Bourgi’s pastry training His creative process Where he gets his inspiration for new desserts His philosophy on garnishes Key considerations for designing dessert décor Thoughts on the Covid-19 crisis And more! Get your free 4-day pass to the Pastry Summit at www.pastrysummit.com!
Jenny McCoy: From Chicago’s Top Restaurants to Cookbooks & Canelés
After attending the Baking and Pastry Program at Chicago’s Kendall College, Jenny McCoy landed positions in a variety of Chicago’s top restaurants, including Charlie Trotter’s, Blackbird, Gordon and Bittersweet Bakery. It was in these kitchens where Jenny learned to refine her palate and develop her talent for composing seasonal desserts.
Following her formative experiences in fine dining, Jenny took a brief hiatus from professional baking to travel and complete a BA in Food Writing at DePaul University. When Jenny returned to the pastry kitchen, she oversaw three restaurant pastry departments for Emeril Lagasse, as well as contribute weekly to the Cooking Blog at Emerils.com. While working at Emeril's Delmonico, Jenny was a nominee for the PastryScoop.com Best Dessert Menu Award in 2006. It wasn’t long, however, before she felt the pull of New York City’s vibrant culinary scene.
In New York, she headed the pastry departments of top restaurant including Marc Forgione, A Voce and Tom Colicchio’s Craft, which earned three stars from The New York Times during her tenure. Jenny was also a pastry instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York from 2010 to 1018, and is the author of Desserts for Every Season (Rizzoli, 2013) and Modern Eclairs (HMH, 2016). Jenny’s newest venture is Recette, a bakery that sells handmade pastries such as French canelés at farmers’ markets and occasional pop-ups in Chicago.
In this episode you’ll learn about:
How Jenny got hooked on pastry and baking Her experiences working in some of Chicago’s top restaurants Her hiatus from pastry when she traveled to broaden her culinary horizons Running the pastry departments of three Emeril Lagasse restaurants in NOLA Moving to NYC and earning three stars from the NY Times at Craft How she co-founded Cissé Trading Company, a line of hot cocoa and baking mixes Her experience writing two dessert cookbooks All about Recette, her latest baking adventure And much more!
Christopher Curtin: The Journey of a Master Chocolatier
Chris Curtin’s journey to the top of the chocolate world started more than three decades ago, in Madison, Wisconsin, where, following his success as a nationally ranked cross-country skier, he found his next challenge in the kitchen. He enrolled at the renowned New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, but soon left to forge an even more rigorous path of independent study—he was accepted to live as a pâtissier at the Compagnons du Devoir, the premier guild for artisan craftsmen in France, and subsequently became the first American to earn the title of Konditormeister, or Master Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, in Cologne, Germany.
Immersed in the realm of the world’s top chocolate makers, Chris continued honing his knowledge under some of the world’s great chocolate makers in Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and Japan—legendary producers like Confiserie Bachmann in Switzerland, Confiserie Coppeneur in Germany, Herman Van Dender and Pierre Marcolini in Belgium, and Poire in Japan—where he had the privilege of sharing in confectionery’s greatest secrets and techniques.
Having mastered the art and techniques of Europe’s finest chocolates, he returned to the U.S. in 2004 and founded Éclat Chocolate, where his craftsmanship rivals that of the Old World’s most storied houses.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
His jump from cross-country skiing to culinary Why he left culinary school to train in Europe The inspiration for opening his chocolate business Collaborations with celebrity chefs and chocolate colleagues Chris’s favorite piece of equipment in his shop Differences between European and American chocolatiers The chocolate trend Chris wants gone And much, much more!