People - those who you work with and for - are the not-so secret ingredient to finding success in Pastry. Beyond determining what you bake and create, your managers and mentors can lay the foundation for your career path and the future leadership roles you take. These pastry chefs share the people and places that influenced them and helped shape who they are today.


“My first Chef really instilled in me the importance of working clean. Respect for my uniform and station are a direct reflection of who I am as a chef and a professional.”

Johnny Iuzzini, Founder of CHOCOLATE by Johnny Iuzzini

"Remy Funfrock taught me a sense of discipline and perfection. Eric Bertoia helped me understand the concept of "saveur", which to me, means the importance of how something tastes overall. I have learned so many things from Chef Daniel Boulud and he's given me so much advice. He is "la grande ecole," always departing new knowledge and wisdom. He is a mentor to so many of the world's best chefs.”

Ghaya Oliveira, Executive Pastry Chef for Daniel

“My experience working at The River Café in New York shaped my career and showed me that to make it in this industry you have to be ready to consistently work hard. I was new to America and had this belief that living here was a bed of roses. I soon realized how hard this city was and it takes a lot more than you think to make it in this industry.”

Tavel Bristol-Joseph, Pastry Chef / Partner of Emmer & Rye

“I've had some amazing mentors, including Adrienne Odom, the first Pastry Chef I worked under, and Michelle Gayer, the second Pastry Chef I worked with - I learned from the best and both are very talented. They taught me to constantly keep pushing and learning. There is no end to learning. Gavin Kaysen and I have only worked with each other for a few months, but his drive and motivation are unbelievable. His leadership skills are great and it keeps you wanting to learn more and do better every day!”

Diane Yang, Executive Pastry Chef for Spoon and Stable

“Floyd Cardoz gave me great advice while I was the pastry chef at Tabla. After working in some pretty intense kitchens for intense chefs before Tabla, I ran my pastry station the way I was accustomed to kitchens being run–yelling a bit too much. After a month, Chef Cardoz pulled me aside to tell me had hired me partially because he thought I was nice. I didn’t need to act this way to get the results I wanted. I immediately changed the way I managed my cooks. They respected me not only for the desserts we were making but also because of the respect I showed them.”

Melissa Walnock, Lecturing Instructor and Pastry Chef at The Culinary Institute of America in New York