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CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

See the confirmed speakers below, more to come!

Kierin
Kierin Baldwin
Pastry Chef Instructor at The International Culinary Center
Moderator in Pastry Plus Session: Future of Bread

It was in college that Brooklyn-born, Kierin Baldwin discovered a love for baking, and in her free time Baldwin began to collect cookbooks and teach herself how to make pies, cakes, and cookies. She worked for a few years in the photo industry before she decided to pursue her culinary interests full time and study pastry arts at the International Culinary Center. Baldwin was lucky enough to begin her new career at Café Boulud and then worked as pastry sous chef at A Voce, and Locanda Verde. After two years at the side of James Beard award winning pastry chef, Karen DeMasco, she joined the opening team for The Dutch in SoHo as pastry chef. She recently returned to Locanda Verde as pastry chef in 2014. Baldwin focuses on seasonal, flavor-driven desserts that strike a balance between familiarity and novelty.

ron ben-israel
Ron Ben-Israel
Chef and Owner of Ron Ben-Israel Cakes
Panelist in Pastry Plus Forum: Sharing the Slice Panel
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Client Relations

Chef-owner of one of the world’s finest couture cake studios, Ron and his accomplished team have made and hand-delivered specialty cakes to destinations throughout the continental U.S. and abroad. Ron started his confectionery adventures after a 15-year career as a professional modern dancer. His cakes were discovered by Martha Stewart while on display in the windows of Mikimoto on Fifth Avenue, propelling him to a prominent position in print media and TV. In 1999 he established his flagship design studio and bakery in Manhattan. Along the way he became the only guest master pastry chef-instructor at the International Culinary Center, has been awarded prestigious gold medals for his confectionery achievements, and influenced countless aspiring cake designers. He has been the sole host and judge of the three seasons of the hit Food Network show “Sweet Genius”, and continued with three seasons of the channel’s popular “Cake Wars”.

Karen Bornarth
Karen Bornarth
Program Director of Culinary Training at Hot Bread Kitchen
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Future of Bread

Through her years of experience as a bread baker and educator in New York’s culinary landscape, Karen brings a passion for education and advocacy for women. Having worked for 20+ years in a field dominated by men, she is particularly interested in breaking down the systemic and structural barriers to leadership roles for women in the culinary industry.

Karen launched her career at the New York institution Amy’s Bread, one of very few women in production, and worked her way up from packer to supervisor while teaching part-time at the Artisan Baking Center. The International Culinary Center provided her the opportunity to focus her passion for teaching; she spent five years as the lead instructor and coordinator of their bread department, improving the curriculum and creating new classes for both professional and amateur students. She also worked for four years at Le Pain Quotidien, where she managed its Bleecker Street demonstration and teaching bakery, and then transitioned to product development, quality control and training on a national level.

In her current work with Hot Bread Kitchen, she oversees a team to design and deliver a dynamic workforce development program in New York City. HBK provides culinary skills and professional readiness training, job placement and retention assistance to women who face significant barriers to employment.

Jansen Chan
Jansen Chan
Director of Pastry Operations at The International Culinary Center
Moderator in Pastry Plus Session: Design in Pastry

Chef Jansen Chan began baking at a very young age and his love for the art has never wavered. A master of classic technique, this natural innovator joined ICC as Director of Pastry Operations in 2012. A Northern California native, his keen visual sense led him to an architecture degree at the University of California, Berkeley. After working briefly in that field, his true passion called to him and he moved to Paris to study pâtisserie. Chef Jansen continued his training in San Francisco’s finest restaurants including Kuleto’s, John Frank, and the Fifth Floor before accepting an invitation to work for Chef Alain Ducasse at the 3-Michelin star Alain Ducasse restaurant in New York City. He later became executive pastry chef at New York City’s Michelin-starred Oceana.

Jurgen David
Jürgen David
Associate Director of Pastry at The International Culinary Center
Moderator in Pastry Plus Session: Client Relations

Jürgen David brings the rich history of classic Viennese confections with him to the Pastry Arts Program. Born and raised in Vienna, Austria, Chef Jürgen was deemed a certified confectioner by the esteemed Viennese Commission of Confectioners. His determination and creativity have taken him from the 400-year-old landmark Kvikne Hotel in Norway to New York’s James Beard House, with many stops in between. One of the most enjoyable projects Chef Jürgen has worked on was the construction of the world’s largest Hershey’s Kiss. Early in 2013 Chef Jürgen led the team to create a four foot sugar and chocolate showpiece of The Phantom of the Opera’s “Red Death”, commissioned by Sir Cameron Macintosh for the 25th Anniversary of “The Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway Gala at the New York Public Library. Chef Jürgen also presented the new Broadway Phantom, Swedish pop star Peter Jöback, with a custom “Welcome to Broadway” cake on Opening Night, joined onstage by VIP guests and press. In his opinion, practice is what it takes to be successful in this field. “Never stop learning. Always try to make it better.” Chef Jürgen joined The International Culinary Center in 1997.

mitchell Davis
Mitchell Davis
Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation
Moderator in Pastry Plus Forum: Sharing The Slice Panel

Mitchell Davis is the Chief Strategy Officer of the James Beard Foundation, where for 25 years he has helped the organization grow and evolve to stay ahead of the changing food world. An Academy Chair of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Davis writes about, reviews, and celebrates restaurants and food culture. He is an advocate for the Beard Foundation’s vision of a world in which everyone has access to sustainable, delicious, and wholesome food. He also eats a lot of pastry.

Brandon
Brandon Iacometta
Marketing & Sales Administrator
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Pastry Toys

Brandon Iacometta has been working in the food and beverage industry since graduating with a communications degree from Rowan University. He has been with Sasa Demarle for the last 6 years, managing all marketing and communications efforts for North America across three business divisions – industrial, food-service, and retail. Other interests include playing music as well as playing and coaching ice hockey.

NY Cake
Eitan Kash
Sales and Production of NY Cake
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Pastry Toys

N.Y. Cake has always been family owned and operated. It all started in Joan Mansour’s kitchen. It was her spectacular birthday cakes for her children that led to the neighborhood buzz and motivated her to teach others how to decorate cakes. That tradition of creating and sharing the art of cake decorating has been passed down through the generations at N.Y. Cake.

Then our loyal customers started to request that we find and recommend baking products for them. After years of experience in the baking world, we have developed our very own line of products that offer the superior quality and functionality our customers crave. Although we serve a wide variety of customers, we pride ourselves on catering to homemakers who desire high caliber products just like those used in commercial kitchens around the world.

Our passion is to bring you the latest and greatest baking and cake decorating products from every corner of the globe. Our core mission is to provide quality products at affordable prices.

Jim
Jim Lahey
Founder of Sullivan Street Bakery
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Future of Bread

Jim Lahey thought he was going to be a sculptor. After noticing he couldn’t find bread in New York like the beautiful, crusty loaves he ate in Italy while traveling there as an art student, he took it upon himself to recreate those loaves. In 1994, with the help of Joe Allen, Lahey opened Sullivan Street Bakery and eventually began producing bread for many of the city’s best restaurants. In 2006, The New York Times published Lahey’s No-Knead Bread method, allowing home bakers to make bakery-quality loaves right from their ovens. The recipe remains one of the newspaper’s most popular recipes, and has changed the way people bake all around the world. Following the success of that recipe, Lahey authored My Bread, opened up a pizzeria Co., and a café in Chelsea. My Pizza followed soon after, allowing readers to try their hand at pizza dough and beautifully simple toppings. In 2015, Lahey was the first recipient of the Outstanding Baker James Beard Award, followed, in 2016, by an induction into the foundation’s “Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America.” Today, Sullivan Street Bakery delivers bread for over 300 restaurants in New York. In 2017, Sullivan Street Bakery opened in Miami, and Jim released The Sullivan Street Bakery Cookbook.

E. Lee
Eunji Lee
Pastry Chef of JUNGSIK
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Design in Pastry

Chef Eunji Lee was born in Busan, South Korea and fulfilled a lifelong dream of studying pastry arts when she moved to France in 2006. Classically trained at the Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie in Rouen and at the Ecole Ferrandi in Paris, Lee spent three years in the acclaimed restaurant Ze Kitchen Galerie of Chef William Ledeuil and then trained under Chef Alain Ducasse and Pastry Chef Cedric Grolet at three Michelin-starred Le Meurice for another four years.

When the opportunity arose for Eunji to combine her classic French training with Korean ingredients, she jumped at the chance to become the Pastry Chef of Jungsik. Chef Lee became the first non-European contestant & Finalist in Season 4 of the French competition Qui sera le prochain grand pâtissier? and her Dessert Tasting Menu at Jungsik was featured in the New York Times in August 2017

Rose Levy
Rose Levy Beranbaum
Cookbook Author
Panelist in Pastry Plus Forum: Sharing the Slice Panel

Rose has published ten books and a laminated pie booklet. Her Romantic & Classic Cakes (1981) was the cornerstone for her subsequent book: The Cake Bible (1988) which was inducted into the International Association of Culinary Professionals Culinary Classics. With the success of the most recent book, The Baking Bible (2014), her publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has contracted Rose for two books: a basics baking book with step-by-step instructions and photography (pub date September of 2018) and an ice cream book (pub date in spring of 2020).

A luminary in the world of food writing, Rose was a Contributing Editor for over a decade to Food Arts Magazine where “Rose’s Sugar Bible” (April 2000) received two prestigious awards: The Association of Food Journalists Award for the Best Food Feature in a Magazine and The Jacob’s Creek World Food Award for Best Food Article. She is also a contributor to Food52, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Fine Cooking, Bride’s, Reader’s Digest, and Hemispheres. Rose has been inducted into the James Beard Foundation/D’Artagnon Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

James Beard Awards: Rose was a three time winner of a James Beard Award: for her first book The Cake Bible in both Baking and Desserts, and Book of the Year, 1989, and for Rose’s Christmas Cookies, Baking and Desserts, 1991.

Emily Luchetti
Emily Luchetti
Chief Pastry Officer of The Big Night Restaurant Group and International Culinary Center Dean of Pastry
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Vanilla: Anything But Plain

Emily Luchetti has helped define what great pastry means in America. She was the Pastry Chef at Jeremiah Tower’s legendary Stars in San Francisco, before moving on to lead the Pastry departments at Farallon and Waterbar Restaurants. Emily currently oversees all things sweet for The Big Night Restaurant Group in San Francisco (The Cavalier, Park Tavern and Marlowe). Creating simple, elegant desserts that are full of flavor,

Emily’s many honors include the James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Pastry Chef (2004). In 2012, she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. She is the author of five dessert cookbooks- Stars Desserts, Four Star Desserts, A Passion For Desserts, A Passion for Ice Cream and The Fearless Baker. She is the founder of dessert worthy a movement to empower people to be more mindful of their sugar and fat indulgences. From 1994 to 1999, she served as Chairperson of Women Chefs & Restaurateurs. Emily is on the board and Chair Emeritus of James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees, a Dean at the International Culinary Center, Chef Ambassador for Wellness in the Schools (WITS) and an Oxfam Sister of the Planet.

Rocco
Rocco Lugrine
East Coast Technical Advisor- Brand Awareness of Barry-Callebaut
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Understanding Your Chocolate

Rocco Lugrine is a pastry chef in Philadelphia, who’s career began at an early age. It was an unfortunate accident that led Chef Lugrine to discover the sweet side of the kitchen, beginning Chef Lugrine’s transition from savory preparations to a new found love of the pastry arts.

Chef Lugrine’s pastry career then blossomed in some of Philadelphia’s most prestigious kitchens, which included the now-shuttered culinary legends, Le Bec Fin and Brasserie Perrier. He then spent a few years in San Francisco, before returning to make Philadelphia his permanent home.

Chef Lugrine first became part of the Barry-Callebaut team in 2011, as a chef ambassador for the Cacao Barry brand. He has since represented the brand in presenting recipes and demonstrations of their products.

In 2017 Chef Lugrine began a new chapter in his career when he became the new East coast technical advisor, brand development. He now brings his many years of cooking, teaching, and creating to the Barry-Callebaut team.

Alek Marfisi
Alek Marfisi
Owner of Upwind Strategies
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Making Your Concept a Reality

Alek Marfisi owns Upwind Strategies, a small business consultancy and professional services company that makes a matching microloan to entrepreneurs in developing countries for every hour of consulting it provides. In his career, Alek has logged over 11,000 hours consulting to small companies from a myriad of industries. For the 790+ clients he has consulted to, he has helped to create and retain over 1,000 jobs nationally and fundraise over $75 million. Since 2011, Alek has taught the Culinary Entrepreneurship program at ICC. A large portion of his company’s clients are food and beverage businesses

Jackie McMann-Oliver
Jackie McMann-Oliveri
Director, Talent & Culture, Bobby Flay Restaurants
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Managing Your Staff

Director of Talent and Culture at Bobby Flay Restaurants accustomed to hiring, training, supporting and retaining World Class Talent in the Wonderful World of Hospitality! 20 plus years in HR, a lifetime in Restaurants …Passions include leadership and talent management with a belief that as leaders we should always be selecting and hiring amazing people, giving them the support, tools and opportunities to succeed and partnering on accountability for all.

Most recently served as HR Director for The Meatball Shop and is a founding member of HR Professionals in Hospitality, a lecturer at The International Culinary Center Culinary Entrepreneurship program and lives and breathes an open-door policy. She does what she loves and loves what she does. Loves to garden and cook and spend time with family, friends and Chihuahuas named Latte & Mocha!

Francisco Migoya
Francisco Migoya
Head Chef of Modernist
Speaker in Pastry Plus Forum: Keynote Address 

Francisco Migoya is the Modernist Cuisine head chef and co-author of Modernist Bread (2017). The five-volume groundbreaking book on bread won James Beard Foundation, International Association of Culinary Professionals, and Gourmand cookbook awards. Together with Nathan Myhrvold, he directs culinary research, including the development of new techniques and recipes.

He has been recognized as a top U.S. pastry chef and chocolatier, with accolades that include the Medal of Master Artisan Pastry Chef (2013) from Gremi de Patisseria de Barcelona. Migoya owned Hudson Chocolates in New York and worked at both The French Laundry and Bouchon Bakery as executive pastry chef. Prior to joining the Modernist Cuisine team, Migoya was a professor at The Culinary Institute of America, where his areas of instruction included bread, viennoiserie, pastry, and culinary science. Migoya’s book The Elements of Dessert (John Wiley & Sons, 2012), won a 2014 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the Professional Kitchens category.

Migoya, Myhrvold, and the Modernist Cuisine team are currently conducting research and writing their next book Modernist Pizza.

Beth Nielsen
Beth Nielsen
Owner and Vice President of Culinary of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Vanilla: Anything But Plain

Beth Nielsen is a third-generation owner and manager of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, serving as Vice President of Culinary. Her responsibilities have included overseeing the company’s international division and its food service division, sales and recipe application, research and development and product innovation. Before returning to Nielsen-Massey Vanillas in 2006, Beth founded and operated her own successful business, was a restaurant manager in resorts and fine dining and served as the financial controller and director of marketing for a team that opened five Nation’s Restaurant News’ Hot Concepts Award-winning restaurants. Beth has been the guest speaker at many conferences, seminars and culinary schools, educating chefs and attendees about Nielsen-Massey’s products. She offers innovative and creative ways to incorporate the products in both sweet and savory recipes, mixology and beauty products. Beth holds degrees in Psychology, Spanish and Music from Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She also studied International Business and Language at one of Europe’s top business schools, Esade. She spends her free time experimenting with Nielsen-Massey extracts and products in the kitchen, hosting chefs from around the globe and tending to her organic vegetable and herb garden.

Jacques Torres
Jacques Torres
Owner of Jacques Torres Chocolate and International Culinary Center Dean of Pastry
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Client Relations

Fondly referred to as Mr. Chocolate, Jacques Torres is the authority on all things related to this confectionery delight. Raised in France, Jacques fulfilled his American dream in 2000 with the opening of his first chocolate store and factory, Jacques Torres Chocolate in Brooklyn, New York. He prides himself on specializing in fresh, hand-crafted chocolates using premium ingredients free of preservatives and artificial flavors.

He has served as Executive Pastry Chef at Le Cirque for 12 years, has hosted several of his own series on Food Network & PBS as well as written three cookbooks. He has seven locations throughout New York City and Choco-Story NY The Chocolate Museum and Experience with Jacques Torres. In March 2018, Netflix released worldwide to 190 countries a baking competition show, Nailed It!, which Jacques is the featured lead judge on the series.

Additionally, since 1993 Jacques proudly serves as Dean of Pastry Arts at the award-winning International Culinary Center. He designed the curriculum of the fast-track Professional Pastry Arts program and offers internship opportunities to ICC pastry students.

Miro U.
Miro Uskokovic
Pastry Chef of Gramercy Tavern
Speaker in Pastry Plus Session: Sugar Alternatives

Miro Uskokovic is the Pastry Chef of Gramercy Tavern. Born and raised in Serbia, Miro grew up on a family farm where his mother had small cheese and cake-making operations. At 17, he traveled to the U.S. for the first time to live in Greentown, Indiana for a year as part of a high school exchange program. After returning home to Serbia and attending hospitality college, Miro relocated to Greentown where he nurtured his love of baking, working with local Pastry Chef Andrea Kirkpatrick in her shop Pastry Diva, known for modern American cakes.

He then enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, where he received an Associate’s Degree in the culinary program in 2010. Miro has worked in the kitchens of Jean Georges, Chef George Mendes’ Aldea, and now Gramercy Tavern. Miro’s contemporary American desserts are created out of a collection of personal memories and experiences, as well as influence from other cuisines. Miro was also named one of Dessert Professional’s “Top 10 Pastry Chefs” in 2015.