Thanks to these inspiring and inventive pastry chefs, the dessert course has become an event in itself.
- Pierre Hermé It’s no secret that some of the greatest pastry chefs in the world hail from France. Or as they say in French, pâtissier. Pierre Hermé is on the forefront of cutting-edge pastry creations, and had the honor of being the youngest ever awarded the designation of France’s Pastry Chef of the Year. Not only does he excel at making his famous macarons, he also oversees two restaurants that have the coveted Michelin star.
- Duff Goldman Based out of Baltimore, Duff Goldman is the director of the bakery known as Charm City Cakes. As the name implies, his specialty is cakes, and he is known for his creative and outlandish designs. While his baking career started out with humble beginnings making biscuits and cornbread for a restaurant, that experience led to a starring role as a celebrity chef on a number of TV shows, including Ace of Cakes, and Food Network’s Duff Till Dawn series.
- Hironobu Fukano Known for his delectable Angel Cake, which is a type of lusciously flavored sponge cake, Hironobu Fukano is Japanese but has mastered the art of French pastries through experiences as a pastry chef around the world. Finally landing in Paris, he opened the famous SOLA restaurant that soon after gained a coveted Michelin star.
- Ed Smith The founder of Ne-Mo’s Bakery, Ed Smith got his start in the baking world with his moist and delectable carrot cake, which he created from scratch with wholesome ingredients. Soon after, word got out about this luscious cake, which led to an incredible demand for more bakery items and the founding of Ne-Mo’s Bakery. Now specializing in a huge array of specialty cakes and pastries, fresh ingredients and authentic recipes are still the trademark of Ed Smith’s technique.
- “Buddy” Valastro Jr. Originally from New Jersey, Buddy worked in the family bakery business from a young age. When his father passed away, he took over the bakery and became known as the “Cake Boss.” Shortly after, the family bakery became the subject of the long-running reality TV series called Cake Boss. This led to the opening of seven additional bakeries in New Jersey that specialize in exquisite wedding cakes and delicious gourmet pastries.
- Elizabeth Faulkner She is an American pastry chef who has done the rounds of the celebrity chef circuit as both a competitor and a judge, including Top Chef Masters, All-Star Academy, and Iron Chef America, to name a few. Her skills as a pastry chef are renowned, and she is particularly known for her skill in deconstructing and reconstructing desserts by flavors, a special technique that is showcased in the book “Demolition Desserts.”
- Lorrain Pascale. Hailing from Great Britain, Lorrain Pascale started out as a fashion model before becoming a celebrity pastry chef. Her career as a model led to an interest in healthy eating, and she created several popular TV programs that showcased health and wellness as well as simple cooking techniques that amateur chefs could easily replicate in their home kitchens. One of her recipes, Death by Chocolate, shows how easy it is to make delicious food that is also healthy.
- Gaston Lenôtre. Although sadly no longer with us, no list of top pastry chefs would be complete without Gaston Lenôtre. When he opened a line of French bakeries, his signature high-end demand for excellence quickly spread throughout France and internationally. He still serves as an inspiration for pastry chefs around the world, and in France he was dubbed “the pâtissier of the century.” His pastry-loving acolytes will always celebrate his world-renowned genius and passion for dessert making.
- Nancy Silverton Based out of California, Nancy Silverton began her career as a chef after dropping out of college to train at the famous school Le Cordon Bleu. She started out by learning from a pastry chef at a restaurant in California, which inspired her to study at a culinary school in France to hone her skills as a pastry chef. She won a James Beard Award, one of the highest accolades of the chef world. Rightfully famous for her breads, she is known for her delectable sourdough bread, which she uses to make her famous grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Roland Mesnier Born in France, Roland Mesnier first began training as a pastry chef after his mother found him an apprenticeship in a nearby town. Soon after, he moved to Paris where his skills continued to advance, and he learned techniques in cake baking, cookie making, fondants, and marzipan. After completing his training, he was hired as the White House pastry chef during the Carter administration and stayed on until he retired in 2004. Since then, he has written several cookbooks and memoirs about his experiences in the professional baking world.
While this list is by no means complete, it gives you a glimpse into the world of exquisite pastry chefs who have gained the expertise and skill level to be considered among the world’s best. They all have different specialties, but one thing that they have in common is a love of artistry, hard work, and excellence in pastry making.