He won Top Chef: Just Desserts Season 2 with a stunning almond cake. The founder of Las Vegas’s The School of Pastry Design tells F&W’s Kate Krader about 10 inspirations and obsessions.

By Kate Krader
Updated March 31, 2015
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1. Smartphone App

“Google Maps is one of the best apps ever. I know it’s not the most fun app out there, but wow, is it ever helpful for getting around anywhere.”

2. Charity

“My daughter Carys was born with a heart defect. She had to have open heart surgery; it was a success. My wife, Caryn, and I are starting a charity for parents in our situation. We want to raise awareness and provide money for things like birthday parties.”

John Wiley & Sons Inc. 2002

3. Cookbook

The Professional Pastry Chef is a big reason why I became a pastry chef. I had no idea about all the things you can do—who knew you could color chocolate?”

4. Churros

“They’re so unexpected, and the mocha sauce makes them even more fun. People think desserts are hard, but here you can take some flour, eggs and chocolate and have a really great dish.”

5. Ocean’s Eleven

“It’s such a good, lighthearted movie that shows the allure of Vegas. It makes me want to go to the Strip; it reminds me of the glamour.”

cookbook “The Professional Pastry Chef is a big reason why I became a pastry chef. I had no idea about all the things you can do—who knew you could color chocolate?”

6. Snickers

“It’s got chocolate and caramel, it’s salty, there’s texture. Hands down, my favorite candy bar.”

7. Vogue

“I find a lot of inspiration for my desserts in the pages of Caryn’s Vogue magazines. I usually check out Marc Jacobs, YSL and Alexander McQueen.”

8. 1940s & ’50s

“What a great era. I like the style, from the fashions to the car design. Things were handmade, and people took pride in that.”

10. Valentine’s Day

“I asked Caryn to marry me on February 12, her birthday’s on the 13th, and then it’s Valentine’s Day. I call those days the trifecta.”

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