The last couple of months has seen a slew of pastry chefs making moves. First, Meg Galus left Cafe des Architectes for NoMI Kitchen. Then Patrick Fahy departed Blackbird and surprised everyone by accepting a gig with his friend Greg Biggers at Cafe des Architectes. After that, Custom House Tavern's Bryce Caron announced he'd be moving to Blackbird, where he worked in the past.
Now, finally we have a pastry chef who is getting out of that "let's trade jobs" game: Stephanie Prida is leaving Ria and Balsan at the Elysian to take over a currently open pastry position at L20 working alongside executive chef Francis Brennan and chef de cuisine Matt Kirkley.
Prida, 26, is scheduled to join L20 mid-August as the executive pastry chef after she wraps up her duties with Ria chef Danny Grant. She'll fill a pastry void that has never really had an owner, and Brennan couldn't be happier. "There's a lot of really talented pastry chefs out there, but it's how she gels and meshes with the rest of our team," Brennan said. "She's very hard working and brings this sense of culinary integrity to what she does that we really like. She's going to help us shape the direction of L20."
Brennan said that while they enjoy the current dessert offerings at L20, the menu will naturally change over time as new products and seasonal ingredients present themselves. In addition to driving that, Prida has also expressed an interest in creating an elaborate chocolate program and Brennan said L20 will provide the platform for her to do that. "We want her to express herself creatively," he said. "She's at the point in her career where she'll own her style and define it."
Will Prida help L20 maintain the three Michelin stars the restaurant achieved under the guidance of Laurent Gras? Only time will tell, but Brennan seems confident. "Stephanie adds this depth to our pastries and desserts that just wasn't there before," he said. "She's the missing piece that we didn't have for so long. We're complete and now we can step on the gas."
· Patrick Fahy Lands Role as Exec Pastry Chef at the Sofitel [~EChi~]
· Custom House Tavern Executive Pastry Chef Bryce Caron Heading to Blackbird [~EChi~]
· Chicago Michelin Guide Revealed: Alinea, L20 Get 3 Stars [~EChi~]