Show 51, December 7, 2013: Pastry Chef Donald Wressell of Guittard Chocolate Co.

Donald WressellThere really is no finer pastry chef in America than the pleasantly low-key Donald Wressell. He was the opening executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. This is the luxury property where the majority of the out-of-town Academy Award nominees stay leading up to the Academy Awards presentation at The Dolby Theater. Every year Chef Donald would create incredible individual chocolate show-pieces celebrating each of the “Best Picture” nominees. These elaborate pieces where then featured, via photography, in the Oscar coverage beamed across the globe.

Donald has competed in the most prestigious international pastry competitions and, most recently, has coached, too. He’s judged pastry chefs for serious competition shows on Food Network.

He’s currently the pastry chef for the proudly American chocolate company, Guittard Chocolate Co. Guittard is based in Burlingame but Chef Donald has a test kitchen and research facility here in Los Angeles. He also teaches classes for professional pastry chefs and candy makers. Guittard has been Family-owned for five generations.

Towards the end of the first quarter of 2014 he’ll create the sure to be dazzling Birthday Cake for The City of Beverly Hills’ 100th Anniversary. Chef Donald baked another cake spectacular for Beverly Hills’ Diamond Jubilee 25 years ago while he was at The Four Seasons.

Show 29, May 18, 2013: Pastry Chef Sherry Yard

Sherry YardSherry Yard was Celebrity Chef Wolfgang Puck’s incredible executive pastry chef for Spago Beverly Hills and all his operations for twenty years! She created all the exquisite desserts for the Governor’s Ball Dinner as part of the Annual Academy Awards festivities for all the years they have been at the Dolby Theater (formerly the Kodak Theater) in Hollywood. She is the recipient of two prestigious James Beard Awards. Sherry also authored two must-have books on the pastry arts, The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts, and Desserts by the Yard, Recipes from the Sweetest Life Ever.

Special thanks to the incredible Sherry Yard for flying back early from Boca Raton to guest-host the show. You’re the absolute best.

The James Beard Awards, the Oscars of the food world, are presented annually in early May at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. Chefs put on their finery and celebrate achievement in the culinary arts.

Sherry shared her insights on being both a presenter as well as an award recipient at The Beard Awards. She recounted a very funny story about what was going on backstage when celebrated French chef Jacques Pepin (Trustee Emeritus of The James Beard Foundation) announced her name from the stage for her first Beard Award in 2002 for “Outstanding Pastry Chef.”