For the next unveiling in the 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards, we turn to Pastry Chef of the Year. These nominees transform sugar and flour into edible treasure-box treats. They're the artists, the magicians of the kitchen.
The Tastemaker Awards is an annual program in which we honor the best in local food and drink, and it culminates in a celebratory event, this time on May 19 at Hall of State. We've already revealed nominees for Rising Star Chef of the Year and Best Sushi Restaurant, and more will be released in the coming weeks.
These are the six candidates for Pastry Chef of the Year:
Eric Cobb, Knife
Cobb has been pastry chef at Knife since 2015, after having worked at the Four Seasons, where many a young pastry chef has learned the ropes. Signature desserts include coconut-lime verrine and creations with unusual flavor combos like the rosemary white chocolate ganache with pine nut cream, apples, and pine nut sponge cake.
Marlene Duke, The Theodore
Duke is from Los Angeles, and she studied at California School of Culinary Arts. She joined the staff at The Theodore when it opened in fall 2015 at NorthPark Center. Prior to that, she was a pastry cook at the Ritz-Carlton.
Maggie Huff, Filament and FT33
Venerated pastry chef Huff has worked at many a restaurant, most notably for chef Stephan Pyles, where she met young chef Matt McCallister. Now she presides over the dessert menus at his two restaurants: FT33 in the Dallas Design District and Filament in Deep Ellum.
Tina Miller, Blind Butcher
In addition to contributing unusual desserts at Blind Butcher, Miller is also the owner and executive chef at the Proper Baking Company, a shop at the Dallas Farmers Market. She's a big fan of unusual flavor combinations and sweets that are not too sweet.
Alison Morse, Front Room Tavern
This New Jersey transplant joined Front Room in 2015, following stints at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, Spago in Colorado, and Fornelletto at Borgata Casino and Hotel at Atlantic City. Pastries at the Front Room include chocolate devil’s food cake with peanut butter mousse and apple crisp with oatmeal streusel and caramel ice cream.
Tida Pichakron, Haute Sweets Patisserie
Pichakron trained at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley before going to work at the French Room at The Adolphus. Before founding Haute Sweets with partner Gianni Santin, she worked in Las Vegas as part of the team opening the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel at City Center, and at the French Room at the Adolphus Hotel.