My enduring love for pastries and baked goods hails back to as a small child watching my Mother bake bread from scratch, eagerly anticipating the point of enjoying a melt in your mouth experience after watch her lovingly kneading the ingredients and patiently letting the yeast do its job of rising dough in a covered bowl. I am sure those memories pulled me in the direction to explore one of my past yet rewarding careers in pastry cooking in our family restaurant.
Within any industry, the best and brightest are rewarded through industry associations or organizations that meticulously search for those professionals who excel in their calling. In the culinary arena, this honor is done by the James Beard Foundation which hosts an annual ceremony for excellence in cuisine, culinary writing and culinary education. The Awards, announced this past May of 2018, honored the finest chefs, restaurants, wine professionals, journalists and other culinary professionals and industry leaders.
To pay homage for the love of desserts and pastries, let us present to you the best of the best in the field of dessert and pastry making and hopes that in your travels, that you may schedule a visit to try for yourself
Owners Belinda Leong and Michel Suas, B. Patisserie in San Francisco
Located in San Francisco bar none offers the food afficianados the very best in dining experiences, b. Patisserie, specializes in Parisian and Viennese style pastries.
Best Pastry Baker
Dolester Miles, Highland Bar & Grill in Birmingham, Alabama
Highland Bar & Grill Restaurant, owned by Chef Frank Stitt and his wife, Pardis Stitt brought home two awards from James Beard this year, Outstanding Restaurant Award and for the focus of this blog, their over 30 plus year pastry chef, Dolester Miles, won the coveted Outstanding Pastry Chef Award which is presented to a chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant, and serve as a national standard bearer of excellence
Chef Miles has been a staple of Highlands for over 30 plus years, as her southern desserts have built a raving fan following by embracing and balancing her African-American baking traditions with a fine dining experience. Her repertoire of desserts has to cover the gamut of baked gifts from provincial French, Italian Sweets and elevated Southern offerings at several Chef Stitt’s restaurants
Best Pastry Restaurant
2018 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics which recognizes regional restaurants, distinguished by their timeless appeal in serving quality food that reflects the character of their communities
Dong Phuong Bakery in New Orleans, Lousiana
This celebrated 30 plus year bakery is known for its French pastries and savory Vietnamese dishes, it supplies its famous baguette style bread to many of the New Orleans restaurants that offer banh mi, which would be defined as Vietnemese “po boys” or other sandwiches that embrace this speciality bread. Dong Phuong has successfully integrated it Vietnamese culture into the indigenious and distinctive New Orleans cuisine. -AJ
Have you been fortunate to visit any of the award winning pastry shops mentioned? Please share your experience here in the comment section or on Twitter!
Photo Credit: Pexels at Pixabay
Thank you to James Beard Foundation (https://www.jamesbeard.org/ ) for content source.