I became a pastry chef when my career in theatre didn’t pan out like I thought it would. I had always worked in kitchens. In fact, my ﬁrst job was as a waiter/short order cook at Ella’s Diner in my hometown of Chatﬁeld, Minnesota. But I had honestly never thought about actually working in that environment as a “real” job. When I reached a certain age (and it can be any age, right?) I thought: enough. But what was I going to do? At the time I thought, “All I know how to do is act!” That was when I remembered what a friend told me. He said, “Richard, if I could afford you I would hire you to cook for me all the time.” And that’s all it took. I was in one of the ﬁrst classes at The French Culinary Institute in New York, my second home town.
While at school I asked myself how am I going to get ahead? I had twiddled many years away and since I now had given myself a second chance I wasn’t going to waste it. Seeing that pastry seemed the most artistic of all the areas in cooking, and that I possessed an artistic bent, I asked the pastry instructor if I had what it took to be a pastry chef. He grabbed my hands and said, “you have cold hands” (thanks mom) “you’ll do ﬁne.” I had no idea what he was talking about. Chef Patrick said that cold hands will not melt the chocolate and they will cool the sugar (as in molten sugar). And so I listened to him. I practiced decorating cakes for a law ﬁrm I was working at while going to school. I tempered chocolate at home. I bought an ice cream machine and made gallons at home. I became obsessed.
After graduating I hooked up with some very helpful French chefs who allowed me to “stage” in their home country. Cannes, to be more precise. The world of food, for this small-towner, became something I couldn’t get enough of. I read books, magazines, everything I could get my hands on about food. Like many of us in this ﬁeld I have an addictive personality. It makes me a perfectionist, detail oriented, and very self-critical-- Perfect for a pastry chef!! And I couldn’t get enough of the details. I worked hard. Still do.
And the hard work has paid off. I have twice been named to the 10 Best Pastry Chefs in America list, am the only one (I think) who has also made it onto the 10 Best Cake Artists list as well. I have won more than anyone on the TV Food Network. Have made cake, pastries, desserts for countless celebrities. Gotten my mug on a lot of television, magazines and books (both cookbooks and textbooks alike). I done good, I must say.
But now my ambitions have turned from “making it” to “giving it away.” And that’s why I created this website. Here you will ﬁnd what’s going on in my inner world. I’ll share recipes, thoughts on the business, and sometimes just thoughts. Check out the videos and pics. Order Cakes, Pies, you name it. There will be links to other sites, Facebook, Twitter....you know, the usual. I hope you enjoy it.
Thanks for stopping by. Tell your friends.