Pastry chefs have become the latest food celebritiesstarring on TV shows like Top Chef: Just Desserts and displaying their creations at bakery counters in top restaurants. "We're done being the last thought," says Zoe Nathan, co-owner of Huckleberry Bakery and Café in Los Angeles. At her once-a-week dinners, guests order dessert first: "We put the blueberry corn cake in the oven when they sit down, so it comes to the table hot and crazy."
Anne Quatrano, a pastry chef who owns five Atlanta restaurants, believes the rise of molecular gastronomy has made pastry seem more exciting. "Molecular cuisine is an extension of pastry," she says. "Gelatins have been used in desserts forever, but now chefs are using them as stabilizers in savory food, too."
7 Pastry Talents
For all these reasons, F&W profiles seven of the country's most creative pastry talentsboth veterans and neophytesand shares their finest recipes.