Best Known For
Pastry chef Jacques Torres is best known for his mastery of cooking and baking with chocolate. He is often referred to as "Mr. Chocolate" and owns seven chocolate shops.
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Jacques Torres was born in Algiers, Algeria in 1960, and moved shortly thereafter to France, where he took up the art of baking. He excelled at his culinary studies and at his employment as a chef, moved to New York, and went on to become a world-renowned pastry chef and chocolatier.
Before he became a renowned master pastry chef known as "Mr. Chocolate," Jacques Torres was born in Algiers, Algeria, and moved to Bandol, a fishing village in the South of France. He took up baking at age 15, when he began an apprenticeship at a small pastry shop. Within two years, Torres had begun to master his baking skills.
In his early 20s, Torres met two-star Michelin chef Jacques Maximin and began working with him at the Hotel Negresco, a leading hotel on the French Riviera. Although he had only his apprenticeship as prior experience, Torres was able to land that job as a result of his love for food and for making people happy. He considered himself a craftsman, and apparently, so did Maximin. The two forged a relationship that lasted eight years and took Torres around the world.
Although Torres was working regularly as a chef, he found time to attend culinary school and earn a master pastry chef degree. He also taught pastry courses at a culinary school in Cannes, France, from 1983 to 1986, which was the year he earned the prestigious title of Meilleur Ouvrier de France ("Best Craftsman of France"), becoming the youngest chef to earn the distinction. For the award's bestowal, Torres credits his MOF coach, Lou Lou Franchain, for serving as a role model and inspiring him. Others who have served as sources of inspiration to Torres include Frank Mars of M&M Mars and Leonardo da Vinci.
Two years after earning his MOF distinction, as well as a credible reputation, Torres ventured to the United States. He began working as a corporate pastry chef for the Ritz-Carlton luxury hotel chain. He was well on his way to pursuing the American Dream, which was his intention from the start. The following year, 1989, afforded Torres the opportunity to meet legendary restaurateur Sirio Maccioni, who invited the young chef to work at his iconic award-winning French restaurant, Le Cirque—one of New York City's most famous restaurants. Torres went on to work there for 11 years, serving presidents, kings and celebrities.
In 1993, Torres became a member of The French Culinary Institute's faculty. He designed the Classic Pastry Arts Curriculum in 1996, and became the school's Dean of Pastry Arts.
Throughout his career at Le Cirque, Torres released a 52-episode public television series called Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres. He also released three cookbooks, one of which earned a 1999 James Beard Award nomination, and hosted a three-year Food Network series called Chocolate with Jacques Torres.
In 2000, Torres left Le Cirque and opened his own chocolate factory and retail shop in Brooklyn. Eventually, he went on to open seven shops, including two chocolate factories and an ice cream shop.
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As a nation that loves to eat, we hold food, and the people who prepare it, close to our hearts. Though Julia Child was the original celebrity chef and cookbook personality, the boom in reality TV has led to a renewed interest in all the people who turn food into art. From cooking show competitors to chefs to the stars, we love to watch these talented individuals whip up all kinds of delicious dishes. To learn more, sift through this group of Famous Chefs, which includes chocolatier Jacques Torres, classic culinarian Julia Child, gourmet guru Alton Brown, "semi-homemade" cook Sandra Lee, Gordon Ramsay, Rachael Ray and many more.
Famous Chefs 31 people in this group
Famous People Named Jacques 12 people in this group
Famous People Born in 1960 62 people in this group