Page 20 - PastryNA2012_2

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Off The Wire
18 Pastry & Baking North America
been very satisfying to see our brand talked about more in the
media and recognized more by consumers. After all, winning
a James Beard Award would not be nearly as meaningful, if
it was recognized as the “Oscars” or “Emmys” of the food
industry.
There is no denying the recent rise in the status of pastry
chefs in the eyes of the culinary world.What is the JBF
doing to keep pace and stay ahead of this curve vis-à-vis
pastry/baking education and promotion?
It has been wonderful to see more restaurants recognize and
boast about the pastry chefs working alongside the executive
chef. As you know, we have two James Beard Awards that
recognize this important craft: our annual Outstanding
Pastry Chef Award and our Best Baking & Dessert Cookbook.
Currently, the JBA honors the year’s Outstanding Pastry
Chef. Any thought to expanding upon this award and
getting more regional or outlet specific as the JBAs do on
the savory side? How about including artisan bakers?
I certainly have heard from pastry chefs who would like to
see our Awards recognition program expand the attention
focused on pastry. Our all-volunteer Restaurant & Chefs
Awards Committee is charged with making any decision to
expand our James Beard Awards. This year, for the first time,
we are honoring Bar Service.  So, who knows, what’s next? 
The decision does not fall under my leadership, but I support
its serious consideration.
How did it feel to be nominated for the JBA’s Outstanding
Pastry Chef award?
Emily Luchetti:
Very Exciting. To be recognized by your peers
is a real honor.
Gale Gand:
Proud and honored but also I felt great support
by my peers.
Francois Payard:
I was surprised since it was my first
nomination. I was not expecting to win. I was very proud.
And when you won? Can you remember taking the stage?
What impact did it have your career?
EL:
I remember walking up to the stage and thinking “I got
it, I actually got it.” I got all these flashbacks of working at
Stars and Farallon and all the people I had worked with over
the years. It was fun.
GG:
Yes, I remember I had my husband sitting next to me
on one side and my ex-husband (Chef Rick Tramonto) on
the other side and wasn’t sure who to hug first!  And then
that walk up, thinking, thank god I sprang for the good
underwear, and then got excited about the chance to thank
and acknowledge all who had helped me along the way-that
was the best. Then they hand me a big BEAUTIFUL bottle
of Dolce!
I remember when I was walking out of the awards I saw
Bobby Flay (We’ve been friends for years) and he said to me,
“You know what this means, don’t you? You have to double
your day rate.” So it impacted my career by legitimizing me
in a way nothing else does. Now, I keep them hanging in my
home kitchen and I pull them out when ever my husband
questions a dish I cooked. When I make shrimp risotto and
start to grate cheese on top, he  says, “Really? Cheese with
seafood?” and I say, “Hmmmm honey, I can’t remember
where your James Beard Award is but mine (I have 2 now)
are right here!”
FP:
I remember taking the stage and seeing so many people
in front of me. More than I had ever seen. I said all of the
silly things you say when you are in shock. I am not sure
if anyone even understood half of what I said with my
accent. I think winning gave my career a big jump. The JBA’s
Outstanding Pastry Chef award is the highest recognition
a pastry chef can receive in American. It is one of the most
acclaimed awards in America.
Gale Gand’s butterscotch pudding with molasses crisps
and black pepper whipped cream
Photo Philip Gross
Nancy Silverton’s butterscotch budino
photo Ken Goodman