Gale Gand, Executive Pastry Chef & Author
Pastry Demonstrations at the farmers market 16th - 18th April 2004
At the age of six, Gale Gand caught the eye of a Life magazine photographer while she was making mud pies. Forty-some years later, although the ingredients have changed, Gand is still catching the eyes and tastes of all those who witness her latest creations.
Gand's desserts have consistently received stellar reviews. Pat Bruno, restaurant critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, has declared Gand, "one of the best pastry chefs in the United States." Esquire's John Mariani proclaimed effusively, "...every dessert I tried was poetic. They should be: They are made by the city's best pastry chef, Gale Gand."
As executive pastry chef and partner of Tru in Chicago, Gand has brought her fresh ideas and innovative presentations to this Relais & Chateaux Relais Gourmand property, four-star, 5-diamond dining destination since it's opening in May 1999. Proclaims Dennis Ray Wheaton in The New York Times review of the restaurant, "Ms. Gand's seasonal fruit creations are excellent, and she revels in humorous plays on American sweets. Pairing a gooey chocolate fudge tart and caramelized banana with cabernet caramel sauce and peanut butter ice cream to evoke peanut butter and jelly, she elevates quintessential childhood flavors to a high-wire act. But then, the whole experience at Tru is a culinary Cirque du Soleil."
In 2001, Gand received the highly coveted James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. She was also named top pastry chef of the year in Bon Appetit's annual Best of the Best awards in 2001. In 1994, Gand received the Robert Mondavi Award for Culinary Excellence and she and her culinary partner Rick Tramonto were named among the Top Ten Best New Chefs by Food & Wine. She appeared on the PBS program, "Baking with Julia" in 1996 and is included in Julia Child's book by the same name. Gand and Tramonto were nominated for the 1998 James Beard Awards for Best Chefs in the Midwest and also nominated for the 2000 James Beard Awards with Tru for the Best New Restaurant. Further nominations for the 2000 James Beard Awards include Gand for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Her first cookbook, "American Brasserie", written with Rick Tramonto and Julia Moskin, was published in October 1997 and named as a finalist in the Julia Child Cookbook Awards with the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Gand's second book, "Butter Sugar Flour Eggs", published by Clarkson Potter, was released in October 1999 and received a James Beard nomination for Best Cookbook in the Baking and Desserts category and was a featured title for the Book of the Month Club. Her third book, "Gale Gand's Just a Bite" was released in October 2001. Her third book, "Gale Gand's Just a Bite" was released in October 2001. Gand's latest book, "Gale Gand's Short + Sweet," hit the shelves in early 2004 and the Tru cookbook is currently in the works with culinary partner Tramonto.
Gand has done spokesperson work and satellite media tours for many well-known companies including Nestles, Karo, Whirlpool, Hershey's, Millstone Coffee, California Dried Plums, All Clad Cookware, Vita Prep Blender's "Chefs Naked With Their Blender" campaign, The American Dairy Farmer's Real Butter and Cheese campaigns, The American Dairy Association's Milk Mustache campaign, Chefwear and Nordic Bakewear.
Gand has an extensive background in television broadcasting, including behind-the-scenes work on "Oprah" and hosting her own Food Network show, "Sweet Dreams," since 2000, airing several times a week. The half-hour episodes showcase a dizzying array of delicious desserts made simple through Gand's friendly yet informative teaching style. She also manufactures and sells nationally her own brand of root beer called "Gale's"®, which is uniquely flavored with cinnamon, ginger and vanilla. Currently, Gand is a member of the Culinary Council for Marshall Field's and is developing a line of fresh baked items for their stores.
A supportive member of many community causes, Gand is an active participant many in charity events including Share Our Strength Foundation, Slow Food, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Steppenwolf Theatre, Meals on Wheels and Save-A-Pet.
Gand has a seven-year-old son named Giorgio, whom she fondly refers to as 'Gio'. He is a great cook for his age and has been featured in Food and Wine magazine. As Gand explains, "Being a mother is such a privilege and it is important for Gio to know women work, have careers and it's OK for boys to cook."
A native of Chicago, Gand has always been an artist and spent her college years studying silver and goldsmithing. When she took a year off and went to work in a restaurant, she discovered that the skills she had learned in art translated well to cuisine. She started her own catering company and also worked three years at the Strathallen Hotel in Rochester, NY. There she met culinary partner Rick Tramonto.
During that time, Gand traveled twice to Europe for pastry classes at La Varenne in Paris and worked in a number of bakeries and restaurants throughout France. In 1985, Gand moved to New York City where she cooked at Jam's with Jonathan Waxman. Later, she moved to The Gotham Bar & Grill with Alfred Portale where her desserts were awarded three stars by The New York Times critic Bryan Miller.
Feeling homesick for Chicago, Gand moved back to the city in 1987 and worked at Carlos' restaurant. That same year, she won first place in the Heart Healthy Desserts Competition from the Chicago Heart Association and became pastry chef at the Pump Room. She opened several restaurants, including Bella Luna, at which time William Rice of the Chicago Tribune, named her a "Dessert Diva."
While she was pastry chef at Bice, Gand was referred by Richard Melman (Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises) to Bob Payton who operated 14 American-style restaurants in London and 17 other venues across Europe. Payton asked Tramonto and Gand to transform the kitchen and cuisine at Stapleford Park, a five-star hotel in Leicestershire, 90 minutes from London, and they accepted the opportunity to live and work in England, France and Spain. Stapleford Park received acclaim from some of London's toughest reviewers. Fay Maschler of the London Evening Standard called Gand's ice creams "the best that I have tasted in Britain." Perhaps the greatest acknowledgment of their talents was receiving the red "M" in the 1991 Michelin guide, the first received by an American in five years.
Upon returning to Chicago in 1993, Gand worked at four-star Charlie Trotter's before joining Tramonto and Henry Adaniya to open the triumphant Trio, earning the Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel's first four-star rating in six years. Tramonto and Gand sold their partnership in Trio in 1995 after opening the popular Brasserie T. In 1996 they opened Vanilla Bean Bakery, which they sold a year and a half later to clear their plates in preparation for the opening of their world-class fine-dining restaurant Tru with partner Rich Melman. In 2001 they closed Brasserie T to fully focus on Tru.
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||16th - 18th April
Executive Pastry Chef