Culinary Talents to Be Celebrated at Tasting and Mixology Event On Monday June 2nd at ICE in New York City
Executive Pastry Chef Cher Harris returned to Hershey from Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, PA. Prior to her time at the Casino, Harris was the Assistant Pastry Chef at The Hotel Hershey. Earlier in her career, she was the Pastry Chef and Education Specialist at Harrisburg Area Community College in Harrisburg, PA, and the Pastry Cook at Bent Creek Country Club in Lititz, PA.
As Executive Pastry Chef of The Hotel Hershey, Harris oversees a staff of up to 18 employees that creates everything sweet for all dining outlets at the Hotel. The Hotel has three a la carte operations, including The Circular, the historic dining room with a long history of Four-Star and Four-Diamond standards. The other Food & Beverage operations within the Hotel include The Cocoa Beanery Coffee House, Sweets Cupcake Shop, The Pool kitchen, The Spa luncheon, Room Service and Banquet Operations, including various weekend weddings.
Harris looks to enhance the flavors and textures of each dessert the pastry shop produces under her direction. She believes that guests are no longer wowed by items that are structural and impressive-looking, and feels that instead they’re looking for clean yet complex combinations that make sense. Overall, Harris’s goal is to deliver high-quality sweets to guests while challenging new trends in pastry.
Harris thrives on the attention to detail and exactness needed for pastry. She also enjoys baking, which is different from pastry and includes making breads and danish. She enjoys the challenges of bread and acknowledges that it takes even more patience and a different handling style. But Harris’ true specialty is in specialty wedding cakes and plated dessert composition.
What is Harris’s favorite thing about working with chocolate? She loves that it’s like pairing fine wines with food, in that the different cocoa contents create many flavor depths and compositions with chosen paired ingredients.
In January 2014, Harris won “The Pastry Queen” title at the Ladies’ World Pastry Championship in Rimini, Italy. In May 2014, she was named one of the top 10 pastry chefs in America by Dessert Professional magazine.
Matthew Stevens and Tish Boyle, editors of DessertProfessional magazine, the nation’s leading food service publication for the pastry, baking, ice cream and chocolate industries, will fête their chef honorees at the twenty-first annual Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America Awards at ICE (The Institute of Culinary Education) in New York City.
The awards recognize the top toques of tuile, cocoa, and sugar for their talent and unique culinary vision. The 2014 winners will be featured in the August issue of Dessert Professional.
“It is our annual pleasure to honor these incredible dessert professionals who have made a tremendous impact on the dessert world,” according to Stevens. “They take their rightful place as culinary luminaries.” Tish Boyle adds, “The talented chefs on this year’s list possess that rare blend of technical skill, artistry and motivation—and their desserts are truly inspired.”
In celebration of the awards turning twenty-one, cocktails will be added to the mix. “This year we will commemorate turning twenty-one, our ‘rite of passage’ year by adding a cocktail component to our 2014 event,” notes Stevens. “Savvy restaurateurs utilize their pastry chefs for their expertise beyond the pastry kitchen, especially at the bar. So adding cocktail pairing is a fitting salute to our invaluable pastry chef community.”
Publisher Jeffrey Dryfoos is proud that “we recognize outstanding chefs who elevate the industry as a whole with their contributions in talent, innovation, and mentoring. These are chefs who embody the spirit of excellence of hospitality that we are all committed to.”
Selected from around the entire country, this year’s Top Ten, the crème de la crème are:
Pastry Chef, NY Marriott Marquis
New York, NY
Pastry Instructor, MonroeCollege
New Rochelle, NY
Executive Pastry Chef, Spago
Los Angeles, CA
F&B Director and Corporate Pastry Chef, Max Brenner
Executive Pastry Chef, The Hotel Hershey
Executive Pastry Chef, Vanille Patisserie
Executive Pastry Chef, Restaurant Daniel
New York, NY
Ecole du Grand Chocolate Pastry Chef Western USA, Valrhona USA
Master Pastry Chef, Hilton San Diego Bayfront
San Diego, CA
Executive Pastry Chef, Lafayette
New York, NY
This year’s Hall of Fame Honoree is Richard Grausman, Founder & Chairman of Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP). He is one of America’s most respected culinary educators, author of French Classics Made Easy and the former U.S. representative for Le Cordon Bleu de Paris. Through his vision and leadership C-CAP has emerged as a national model for enriching public school culinary arts programs. Over the past 24 years C-CAP has awarded more than $43 million in scholarships and has transformed the lives of thousands of young people. In 1997, Grausman was awarded The President’s Service Award, the highest recognition given by the White House for volunteer service. In 1998 the French government honored Richard with the title of Officier du Mérite Agricole, and in 2003 he received the James Beard Humanitarian Award.
Dessert Professional is proud to commemorate C-CAP’s upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary and Grausman’s work transforming lives through the culinary arts by instituting the inaugural Dessert Professional C-CAP Scholarship.The scholarship will be awarded annually (starting in 2015) to an exceptional C-CAP student and can be applied to any pastry and baking program at ICE.
The Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America event will be held on Monday, June 2, 2014 at The Institute of Culinary Education, 50 W. 23rd Street, New York City. The event will feature a walk-around tasting of desserts paired with specialty cocktails from some of the most talented chefs and mixologists in the nation. Hors d’oeuvres, wine & champagne service starts at 5:30pm, awards ceremony at 6:15pm, and dessert service to follow at 6:45 pm.
Guittard Chocolate, KitchenAid, Beurremont, Nielsen-Massey and the staff of Dessert Professional look forward to celebrating with you on June 2nd at ICE.
Join the Top Ten event live on Twitter and be a part of the conversation with #dessertpro.
DessertWorld Media is a New York City based publishing, event, and marketing company serving the growing North American dessert industry. DWM is publisher of the industry-leading print publication Dessert Professional, organizer of the annual Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America awards (the longest-running professional dessert awards in the USA), web-publisher of DessertProfessional.com, and social media purveyor of the Dessert Professional Connect Network. For more information please visit www.dessertprofessional.com or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.