Rise of the Pastry Chefs

June 6, 2013 Updated: October 8, 2018

How far pastry chefs have come. Years ago, the only job you could get as a pastry chef was in a restaurant, recalled macaron pioneer and renowned pastry chef Florian Bellanger of MadMac Macarons. These days, with different trends coming and going at any given time (cupcakes, macarons, cronuts, you name it), pastries have an avid following, and pastry chefs have risen in stature.

Bellanger, who was formerly executive pastry chef at Fauchon and is a judge on the Food Network’s Cupcake Wars, was honored as the Hall of Fame honoree at the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America award ceremony on June 3 at the Institute of Culinary Education. The annual awards, now in their 20th year, are organized by Desserts Professional Magazine.

New York City alone had five pastry chefs receive the award (a mixing bowl engraved with their name):
Brooks Headley, Del Posto
Malcolm Livingston II, wd-50
Laurie Jon Moran, Le Bernardin
Nancy Olson, Gramercy Tavern
Clarisa Martino, Mesa Grill (also in Las Vegas, Nev., and Nassau)

The other awardees were:
Andy Chlebana, Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.
Bill Corbett, Absinthe, San Francisco, Calif.
Christopher Feyt, Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas, Nev.
Jimmy MacMillan, JMPurePastry, Chicago, Ill.
Roy Shvartzapel, Common Bond, Houston, Texas

The attendees were feted with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and the evening’s guests enjoyed a walk-around tasting of their desserts.