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After 25 years of naming America’s Best New Chefs, we’re ready for dessert: F&W editors are searching for the Best New Pastry Chefs in the country and you can help us crown The People’s Best New Pastry Chef!

Central Region Winner
The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Jodi Elliott
Photo © Aimee Wenske
Winner

Jodi Elliott

Restaurant Foreign & Domestic (See menu)

Location Austin, TX

Culinary School The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)

Background Parea Bistro, Peacock Alley, Bouley, Gramercy Tavern, Per Se (New York City); The Savoy (London)

Quintessential Dessert Brown butter blondie sundae with dried cherries and toffee chip ice cream

Central Region Pastry Chefs
The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Matt Danko
Photo © Bridget M. Rehner

Matt Danko

Restaurant The Greenhouse Tavern (See menu)

Location Cleveland, OH

Culinary School Self-taught

Background Downtown 140 (Hudson, OH), The Sheraton Suites (Cuyahoga Falls, OH)

Quintessential Dessert Buttered popcorn pot de crème with caramel and sea salt

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Victoria Dearmond
Photo © Cece Norman

Victoria Dearmond

Restaurant Underbelly (See menu)

Location Houston, TX

Culinary School Texas Culinary Academy (Austin)

Background Triniti (Houston), Sun Mountain Lodge (Winthrop, WA)

Quintessential Dessert Vinegar pie with salt brittle

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Melinda Dorn
Photo © Samantha Egelhoff

Melinda Dorn

Restaurant L’Etoile (See menu)

Location Madison, WI

Culinary School Academy of Culinary Arts (Mays Landing, NJ)

Background The Wild Goose (Tahoe Vista, CA), Pacific Crest Grill (Truckee, CA), Artisanal Brasserie (Bellevue, WA)

Quintessential Dessert Horchata panna cotta with cinnamon almond cake, citrus salad and cherry molasses

The People’s Best New Pastry Chef: Meg Galus
Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Chicago

Meg Galus

Restaurant NoMI Kitchen (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School The French Pastry School (Chicago)

Background Café des Architectes, Tru (Chicago)

Quintessential Dessert Chestnut parfait with Tahitian vanilla panna cotta, blood orange jelly and cotton candy

The People’s Best New Pastry Chef: Jennifer Jones
Photo © Genevieve Westlake

Jennifer Jones

Restaurant Topolobampo (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School Kendall College (Chicago)

Background Charlie Trotter’s, Le Lan (Chicago)

Quintessential Dessert Plátanos con Crema, Café con Vainilla (Mexican vanilla-crema cake with banana leaf ice cream and coffee gelatinas)

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Sarah Jordan
Photo © Eric Kleinberg Photography

Sarah Jordan

Restaurant Boka (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School Self-taught

Background GT Fish & Oyster, Blackbird (Chicago); Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Bar, Olivia, Fino (Austin)

Quintessential Dessert Peanut butter semifreddo with flourless chocolate cake and miso soy caramel and pear

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Karen Man
Photo courtesy of Oxheart

Karen Man

Restaurant Oxheart (See menu)

Location Houston, TX

Culinary School The French Pastry School (Chicago)

Background Bien Cuit (Brooklyn, NY), Bouchon (New York City)

Quintessential Dessert Meyer lemon curd tart with basil

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Kyle McKinney
Photo © Knox Photographics

Kyle McKinney

Restaurant Barley Swine (See menu)

Location Austin, TX

Culinary School Scottsdale Culinary Institute (Scottsdale, AZ)

Background Four Seasons Hotel, Hilton Austin, Maiko (Austin)

Quintessential Dessert Barley-steeped panna cotta with Texas berries and sweetened barley crumbles

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Leigh Omilinsky
Photo courtesy of Sofitel Chicago Water Tower

Leigh Omilinsky

Restaurant Café des Architectes (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School Johnson & Wales University (Denver)

Background L20, Tru (Chicago); Tramonto’s Steak & Seafood (Wheeling, IL)

Quintessential Dessert Pear bavarois with Concord grape sorbet and Chartreuse reduction

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Anna Shovers
Photo © Eric Dresner

Anna Shovers

Restaurant The Publican (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School The French Pastry School (Chicago)

Background Everest, Blackbird (Chicago)

Quintessential Dessert Waffle with raspberry jam and honey butter

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Callie Speer
Photo © Kelsey Orr

Callie Speer

Restaurant Swift’s Attic (See menu)

Location Austin, TX

Culinary School Self-taught

Background Cakemix, Parkside, Mars, Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Bar (Austin)

Quintessential Dessert Popcorn & a Movie: buttered-popcorn ice cream, mini candy bars, caramelized popcorn and root beer gel

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Erica Waksmunski
Photo © Jay B. Sauceda

Erica Waksmunski

Restaurant Congress (See menu)

Location Austin, TX

Culinary School Johnson & Wales University (Charlotte, NC)

Background Chez TJ (Mountain View, CA), Flyte World Dining and Wine (Nashville, TN), Everest (Chicago)

Quintessential Dessert Lime-basil sorbet with yogurt mousse and Asian pear

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Tandra Watkins
Photo courtesy of Capital Hotel

Tandra Watkins

Restaurant Ashley’s at the Capital Hotel (See menu)

Location Little Rock, AR

Culinary School Le Cordon Bleu Paris

Background Private catering

Quintessential Dessert Lemon vacherin, vanilla parfait with crisp meringue and lemon sorbet

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Bronwen Wyatt
Photo © Rene Merino

Bronwen Wyatt

Restaurant La Petite Grocery (See menu)

Location New Orleans, LA

Culinary School Self-taught

Background Outerlands, Range (San Francisco); Five Fifty-Five (Portland, ME)

Quintessential Dessert Grilled vanilla bean panna cotta with satsuma sorbet and pistachio brittle

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Katie Wyer
Photo © Jamin Townsley

Katie Wyer

Restaurant Telegraph (See menu)

Location Chicago, IL

Culinary School Coursework at Elgin Community College (Elgin, IL)

Background Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago); The Ahwahnee Hotel (Yosemite National Park, CA); Niche, 302 West (Geneva, IL)

Quintessential Dessert Icebox cake with white chocolate-banana mousse and banana bread ice cream

The People's Best New Pastry Chef: Robert Zugmaier
Photo © Greg Rannells

Robert Zugmaier

Restaurant Sidney Street Cafe (See menu)

Location St. Louis, MO

Culinary School L’École Culinaire (St. Louis)

Background Colossus (St. Louis)

Quintessential Dessert “Snicker Bar”: chocolate mousse, honey nougat, roasted peanuts, dulce de leche and chocolate bourbon sorbet

*NOTE: Many pastry chefs change their menus frequently; “quintessential desserts” may not always be available.

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