Portraits

GUEST CHEFS AT L'ECOLE VALRHONA BROOKLYN

CHEF ANTONIO BACHOUR
Executive Pastry Chef

For Antonio Bachour, whose earliest memories are kneading dough in his family’s bakery in Puerto Rico, his professional aspirations were simple: he wanted to be a pastry chef.  With three top-selling cookbooks under his name, accolades including “Top 10 Pastry Chefs” in America from Dessert Professional Magazine; International Chef Congress Mainstage presenter and judge; two-time Johnson and Wales Zest Award winner for Baking & Pastry Innovator; repeated guest chef at the prestigious Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastián, and now restaurant owner of celebrated Bachour Bakery + Bistro –he has truly realized his dream.

A graduate of baking and pastry arts at French Culinary Institute, Bachour’s first working years were spent honing his trade in his homeland of Puerto Rico as pasty cook at Sand Hotel and Casino, before moving on to the Westin Rio Mar where he was pastry sous chef from 1996-1999.  A move to the United States in 2000 landed him on Miami Beach where an exploding restaurant scene presented many promising options.  He secured a position as executive pastry chef at the revered Talula Restaurant, where his sweet creations were acknowledged as “Best Dessert” in Miami New Times’ annual “Best Of” issue.  From there, Bachour began to try his hand at Italian delicacies at both Devito South Beach and Scarpetta Miami.

In 2009, Bachour was asked by KNR Food Concepts to be a part of the opening team at the W South Beach Hotel. Shortly thereafter, he took over responsibility for all pastries for The Trump Soho hotel and its restaurants in New York City, as well as pastries for all other KNR properties, a time during which he earned many of the aforementioned awards and accolades. In 2011 Bachour took a position as Executive Pastry Chef at the St Regis Bal Harbour Hotel.

In 2013, the pastry chef released his stunning debut cookbook: Bachour featuring the signature flavor combinations, cooking techniques, and stunning presentations that made him such a celebrated culinary figure, selling out the first printing in only four months. The second book, Bachour Simply Beautiful released in 2014 sold out as well. The third, Bachour Chocolate, released in 2015, sold more than 10,000 copies in the first two weeks.

During his various book tours and promotions, Bachour has conducted cooking demonstrations with world renown pastry chefs Oriol Balaguer and Carles Mampel in Bolivia, Italy, Panama and Spain, and as well as guest chef stints at Valrhona Chocolate School.  In 2015, Bachour was honored with an invitation to cook in Milan, Italy with Massimo Botura, Italian restaurateur and the chef patron of Osteria Francescana, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Modena, Italy.

Currently, Bachour concentrates his efforts on owning, operating and baking at Bachour Bakery + Bistro, along with directing pastry classes around the globe in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Japan, Peru, Russia, Spain and Thailand. He won the title of 2018 Best Pastry Chef in the World at the Best Chef Awards.

 

 CHEF ORIOL BALAGUER
Executive Pastry Chef/Owner 

Oriol Balaguer was born in Calafell (Tarragona), Spain in 1971, showing a true passion for pastries from a very young age. With his childhood memories, he still has a clear portrait of his father working at the confectioner’s shop while he played at his feet creating miniature imitations of his pastries and sweets. 
After attending the Confectionery Trade School of Barcelona and training at the best pâtisseries in Spain and Belgium, he was hired to work with the team of Ferran Adrià, who defined him as “one of the most well-rounded professionals in the world of gastronomy”. At the age of only 23, he received the distinction of the Best Spanish Artisan Confectionery Master. In 2003, he decided to take a leap forward and demonstrate his creative talent, formidable energy, personal attitude, and critical thinking by creating a brand that would bear his name.
With an outlook inspired by architecture and design, Oriol Balaguer creates sweets and pastries that harmoniously blend refined artisan techniques and the perfect balance of flavors.
As an inventor of new sweet indulgences, in a few short years he has created an exceptional culinary heritage with recipes that combine innovation and quality to meet the high standards of his clientele.

Distinctions:

Best Artisan Panettone in Spain 2017
Best Artisan Butter Croissant in Spain 2014
Best Pastry Chef in Spain 2008
Best Gastronomy Shop in Madrid 2008
Award for Professional of the Year 2006
Best Gastronomy Website in Spain 2005
Best Pastry Chef in Catalonia 2003
Best Dessert in the World 2001
Best Book in the World 2000
Best Spanish Restaurant Pastry Chef 1997
Best Dessert in Spain 1997
M.M.A.P.E. 93 Best Spanish Handmade Pastry Master 1993

 

CHEF RON BEN-ISRAEL
Chef/Owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes

As Chef-Owner of one of the most established couture cake studios in the world, Ron Ben-Israel started his confectionery adventures after a fifteen-year career as a professional modern dancer. Upon retiring from performing with companies spanning three continents, he utilized his fine art schooling and ballet training to master the discipline of pastry arts.

After apprenticeships and engagements in Toronto, Canada and Lyon, France, he was led to New York City. In 1996, his cakes were discovered while on display in the windows of Mikimoto on Fifth Avenue and commissions quickly followed from Villeroy & Boch, Baccarat, DeBeer’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf-Goodman.

In 1999, Ron established his flagship design studio and bakery in Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood. After calling SoHo home for fifteen years, the company moved to a new, expansive location in the heart of Manhattan’s iconic Garment District. The new facility includes a design studio, showroom, production kitchen and teaching classroom. It also hosts social and corporate events under the name Above Twelve.

The collections of trendsetting cakes can be spotted in many of New York’s premiere hotels and venues. They also have been featured in countless publications, including The New York Times, In Style, Vogue Magazine and Martha Stewart Weddings, with which Ron has collaborated extensively for over 20 years.

Many television shows, films and books also have chronicled the success of the bakery. Ron and his work have been highlighted on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Bravo’s Top Chef—Just Desserts, The Late Show with David Letterman (CBS) and The Martha Stewart Show. Ron also has appeared in Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and HBO’s Everyday People. The bakery was fictionalized in the New York Times’ bestselling novel Shopaholic Ties The Knot, by Sophie Kinsella.

In 2011 the bakery received further acclaim when Ron became host and judge of the Food Networks’ hit show Sweet Genius, which aired for three seasons. Since then he has been a favorite judge and guest on numerous Food Network programs, including Chopped, America’s Best Cook, Worst Cooks in America, Guy’s Grocery Games, Halloween Baking Championship and All-Star Gingerbread Build. Ron also is a co-judge on Cake Wars, which is airing its third season during Summer 2016.

Ron travels the U.S. and internationally as a teacher, lecturer and motivational speaker. He is a popular headliner at culinary and pastry conventions as well as at special-events and fundraisers. He is is the only Guest Master Pastry Chef at the renowned International Culinary Center in New York City where he shares his passion, techniques and secrets with the students through exclusive demos and classes.

Some of Ron’s most well known cakes include the trendsetting Sex and the City 2 cake in partnership with Swarovski, as well as The Plaza’s 100th birthday cake—an exact confectionery replica of the famed New York landmark, measuring over 12’ tall and serving 1,500 guests.

Ron is a proud member of City Harvest’s Food Council and its Advisory Board, which brings together over sixty of New York City’s top chefs, restaurateurs and food industry professionals to aid the organization in the fight against hunger. Ron also is an active supporter of Lambda Legal Defense and an advocate of same sex marriage.

CHEF LINCOLN CARSON
Owner, Lincoln Heavy Industries

Chef Carson is the owner of Lincoln Heavy Industries, a pastry consulting firm specializing in developing full pastry programs through conceptualization, R&D, kitchen and systems design, recruiting and training.

Formerly Superba Food + Bread’s Executive Pastry Chef, Carson created and developed the brand’s patisserie and dessert programs and led the growth of a new concept focused on community dining in a casual and accessible all day atmosphere.

Chef Carson previously served eight years as the corporate pastry chef for The Mina Group, where he was responsible for all facets of the dessert program development, conceptualization, staff training and execution at all of Mina Group’s restaurants.  During his tenure he opened 18 restaurants with The Mina Group.

A career constructed in the kitchens of great traditional French and contemporary American restaurants, his experience has included, among others, New York’s Le Bernardin, La Cote Basque and the Waldorf Astoria’s Peacock Alley, Carmel’s Highlands Inn as well as Las Vegas’ Daniel Boulud at Wynn Las Vegas and Bellagio’s Picasso.  He also gained valuable experience at both the Olives and B.R. Guest restaurant groups in New York, and was named one of Dessert Professional’s top ten pastry chefs of 2009.  Additionally, Carson is one of the founding chefs and organizers of the nationally recurring pastry event, Killed by Dessert.

 

CHEF PATRICE DEMERS
Chef/Owner, Patrice Pâtissier

Passionate about restaurants and pastry for many years, Patrice decided in 1999 to enroll in cooking school. After his training in pastry and in professionnal cooking, he worked for more than 15 years in some of Montreal best restaurants, creating desserts where fruits and acidity play an important part and where sugar never dominates.
In 2014, he opened his own pastry shop: Patrice Pâtissier near Atwater Market in Montreal where he creates desserts using local and seasonal ingredients. Beside serving lunch and brunch, Patrice also give pastry classes in the evening.
Because he loves to share his passion for pastry, Patrice has published 3 books and has been hosting a t.v. show "Les Desserts de Patrice" for 5 seasons on Canal Vie. Some of his recipes have also been published in magazines like "So Good" and "Fou de Pâtisserie". He's also been invited twice to Paris to gives demonstrations at the Omnivore Food Festival.

 

CHEF GIANLUCA FUSTO
Executive Pastry Chef

Gianluca Fusto, a passionate lover of the art of bakery, was born in Milan in 1975.

After his culinary studies, he met Aimo Moroni, who helped him understand the best path to direct his talent.  Chef Fusto’s talent was able to develop and mature during a unique culinary journey that led him to work alongside the best professionals in the world.

He worked at Ecole du Grand Chocolat Valrhona for five years, where he learned and perfected the best techniques for working with chocolate, through the teaching of Frédéric Bau, Yann Duytsche and Philippe Givre.

His professional life is a continuous discovery as he shares his knowledge and expertise of pastry and baking with others.

 

CHEF GINGER ELIZABETH HAHN
Chocolatier/Owner, Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates is a Northern California chocolate boutique specializing in chocolate bonbons, macarons and ice cream.

Ginger Elizabeth Hahn has been working with chocolate and pastry professionally for her entire adult life. Her journey started in the kitchens of her mother and grandmother and led her to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where she graduated at the top of her class. She has studied with respected professionals from Santa Barbara to New York and Chicago. She returned to her native Northern California having reflected on the experience and knowledge she had gained and began to develop and distill her own distinct style which is imbued with impeccable craftsmanship and technique, memorably pronounced flavors and a touch of playfulness and femininity.

At 24 Ginger Elizabeth started her first company—a wholesale venture selling chocolate bonbons—with just a credit card as financing for the operation. Her drive and determination led her, 2 years later, to take a leap of faith and open her retail boutique on a premier block in Sacramento’s trendy Midtown neighborhood. Today her eponymous boutique is a neighborhood landmark and foodie destination with frequent lines down the street.

Ginger Elizabeth lives in rural Davis with her husband and business partner Tom and their 3 children. Tom brings both business experience as a cum laude graduate from USC’s Marshall School of Business and fine dining experience from time spent at The French Laundry and Manresa restaurants. As a family they enjoy cooking and baking together, entertaining and traveling.

 

CHEF CARLES MAMPEL
EXECUTIVE PASTRY CHEF

Carles Mampel is a Catalan Pastry Chef who is passionate about what he does and it shows. His creations are inspired and he is aware of the importance of details – the visual, the flavours, textures and aromas – every part has a purpose and his creations make perfect sense. Carles Mampel was awarded the title of Best Master Pastry Chef in Spain in 1999 following a succession of other international prizes.

From 1999, Carles Mampel went on to win Champion Pastry Chef of the Euro Americas in 2000. He captained the Spanish team in the world championship in Las Vegas in 2002.

In 2004, the team finished in a meritorious number two position in Rimini. In 2005, he won the press prize for “the world´s best chocolate cake,” his Xabina chocolate cake in Lyon. These achievements served as a reward for the effort and dedication he puts into his work and also helped to push the limits of what he does and how he does it. He was incorporated into Relais Dessert in 2008, a body which recognizes the world´s best pastry shops.

 

CHEF GREG MINDEL
Chef/Owner, Neighbor Bakehouse

Greg Mindel is a New York Native. His culinary adventures began in South Florida, where the diversity of people and exposure to a range of flavors inspired him to set forth on an exploration of the different rich food traditions.

After touring the East Coast, Greg made his way to California. Over the last ten years in the San Francisco Bay Area, Greg has worked in great kitchens including the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Tartine Bakery and Spruce Restaurant.

Outside of traditional kitchen work, Greg has been a Chef Instructor at The San Francisco Baking Institute, and SF Cooking School and is a Chef Consultant for the Center for Culinary Development.

In January 2012, Greg opened his own baking company called Neighbor Bakehouse. He provides Viennoiserie and morning pastries that harken back to the classics, yet focus on modern techniques and global flavors.

 

CHEF NATHANIEL REID
Pastry Chef/Owner, Nathaniel Reid Bakery

Nathaniel Reid is owner of Nathaniel Reid Bakery in St. Louis, Missouri.  He has held pastry chef positions for many luxury brands including, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel and St. Regis Hotel.

Dessert Professional Magazine recognized him as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America in June 2012. In 2010, he was selected as winner of the U.S. Pastry Competition and named Pastry Chef of the Year. In 2009 Nathaniel was awarded the “Golden Scoop Award” for the best chocolate confection in America.

A graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu, Paris with a Grand Diploma in Culinary and Pastry Arts, Reid specializes in contemporary bakery creations with a European flair.

 

CHEF STÉPHANE TRÉAND
MOF & World Champion

A veteran of the food industry, Stéphane Tréand's pastry journey began in Northern France when his father sent him to work at the local bakery. When he discovered there were so many ways to express himself within the world of “la pâtisserie", he realized his passion for pastry.

Stéphane has held a variety of positions at bakeries and pastry shops in the Paris area, where he learned the fundamentals of French pastry and bakery. In 1989, Stéphane opened his own pâtisserie tearoom “Pâtisserie Tréand,” located in Brignoles in Provence, South of France. Already a food lover, he focused on the quality products that the South offered which gave him freedom to express his creativity.

While running his pâtisserie, Stéphane found another way to share his passion through teaching. In 1994, he decided to become a Pastry Teacher while still running “Pâtisserie Tréand”. In 1999, an apprentice from his shop won the prestigious title of M.A.F., (Meilleur Apprenti de France), “Best Apprentice in France.”

In 2001, Stéphane sold his pâtisserie in order to devote more time to teaching and to pursue his lifetime dream of achieving the title of M.O.F., (Meilleur Ouvrier de France) “Best Craftsman in France” which he achieved in 2004. The title of M.O.F. is the highest honor given by the President of France to a professional in an individual trade.
In 2005, Stéphane was given an opportunity to move to the United States when he accepted the position of Executive Pastry Chef at The Four Seasons Hotel & Resort in Newport Beach, CA and then moved on to the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA.

In 2005, Chef Tréand won the Food Network's “Sugar Daredevils Challenge” in Phoenix, AZ and in 2007 he won the gold medal at the National Pastry Team Championship (NPTC) in Nashville, TN. In 2008, he took the title of World Pastry Champion at the WPTC in Nashville, TN. Pastry Art and Design Magazine named Stéphane one of the Ten Best Pastry Chefs in the US in 2007 and 2008.

Currently, Stéphane is the Executive Chef Consultant for Occitanial, a pastry shop in Tokyo where he took the challenge of creating South of France pastries with a pinch of Japanese sensitivity.

With his superior knowledge and innovative techniques, Stéphane’s dream of living in the US and running his own school has been realized, and he dedicates his time to sharing his passion and love for the Art of Pastry at his The Pastry School in Costa Mesa, CA.

 

CHEF WILLIAM WERNER
Chef/Partner Craftsman and Wolves

William Werner is Chef/Partner of Craftsman and Wolves (CAW), an award-winning contemporary patisserie and cafe, based in San Francisco. With a nod to classic French technique and an emphasis on seasonal change, the menu offers pastries, cakes,
confections, confitures, breads, desserts, as well as savory fare and signature drinks.

Current locations include CAW Valencia in the vibrant Mission district; CAW Pacific in the growing Russian Hill neighborhood; and The Den in Bayview. CAW also has a farmers’ market stand at the venerable CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and an
online retail shop shipping nationwide.

Since opening the first location in 2012, Werner has garnered praise both locally and nationally in publications, including New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Real Simple, Esquire, Food & Wine, and Bon Appétit. GQ magazine named his famous “Rebel
Within” as #6 on "The 50 Best Things to Eat and Drink Right Now."

Werner serves as a Valrhona Pastry Chef Consultant and leads professional culinary demonstrations and classes around the U.S. and Canada.

Awards and accolades:

  • James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Baker” 2016 and 2015 finalist and an “Outstanding Pastry Chef” 2012, 2013, and 2014 semi-finalist
  • Dessert Professional’s “Top Ten Pastry Chefs of America 2015”
  • The Passion Company’s “2015 Most Passionate Chef/Restaurateur in San Francisco”
  • San Francisco Magazine’s “2014 Best Pastry Chef”
  • Plate Magazine’s “2014 30 Chefs to Watch”
  • Star Chefs’ “2013 Rising Star Artisan”

 

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