The 2006 winner of the U.S. Pastry Competition, the Sagamore Hotel's Bill Foltz, created a chocolate pedestal cake topped with hand-blown tubes of jewel-toned sugar. It was named "Royal Brazilian," as a tribute to the Mardi Gras ball held in honor of Rex, the King of Carnival. Themed "Carnivals Around the World," the annual competition was held in New York, a home to many culinary masters.
Pastry as an Art Form
You can probably tell from the description of the winning entry that being a top pastry chef involves more than just knowing how to make cakes, cookies, and muffins. Pastry is a combination of art and science. As chef Todd Richter told The Southern Pines Pilot, being a pastry chef "involves math, physics and chemistry." Occasionally during competition, a delicately balanced work crashes to the ground when put out on display, usually due to a miscalculation on the part of the chef.
The pastry chefs who compete at this level usually attended chef schools. Bill Foltz has two degrees in culinary arts and sciences. Two other finalists in the competition, Jeffery Onteveros and Sarah Hooton, are instructors at a chef school in Austin, Texas.
Choosing a Chef School in New York
If you want to study the fine art of pastry, you might want to consider attending a culinary school in New York. Numerous culinary traditions can be found in the New York City, and you're bound to find someone that fits your cooking style. Plus, New York offers numerous opportunities for internships to help you get much valued experience in the culinary business. Whether it's a competition or a culinary career, New York can give you the right culinary start.