ICE Alumni Shine on Top Chef: Just Desserts
The second season of Top Chef: Just Desserts wrapped up last week. It was a great season full of sweet challenges and lots of hard work from all the pastry chef-testants. We thought we’d check in on the ICEalum who have been on the pastry spin-off of Top Chef, Bravo’s Emmy- and James Beard Award-winning show and let you know what they’ve been working on.
In addition, the many alums who have competed on the show, ICE alum Gail Simmons (Culinary Arts ’99) is a regular on both Top Chef: Just Desserts and Top Chef. In this most recent season, ICE alum Melissa Camacho (Pastry & Baking Arts ’07) was among the 14 talented competitors.
On Top Chef: Just Desserts, Melissa put her skills and ICE education to work and won an elimination challenge on the second week of the show by creating a cardamom sponge cake for a multi-tier cake created for a party celebrating the orchestra at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Unfortunately, she was eliminated on the fourth week in a double elimination week. Nonetheless, we were proud to see her as part of the season. Now, she is back creating treats as a Pastry Chef at ilili, the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant located in New York City.
In the first season of Top Chef: Just Desserts, the roster of contestants included three ICE alumni! Zac Young (Pastry & Baking Arts ’06), Malika Ameen (Culinary Arts ’97) and Seth Caro (Pastry & Baking Arts ’04) all competed on the show. Malika and Seth withdrew in the same week partway through the season, and Zac made it all the way through to the second-last week. All three have gone on to further success in the industry.
Seth is now working as a pastry chef in Los Angeles’ new The Strand House, a contemporary new American restaurant located near the Manhattan Beach pier. Malika was recently seen helping out with a live online show for Fair Trade USA where she helped prepare a variety of dishes with dietician Ashley Koff. The demonstration allowed viewers to participate in the discussion by submitting questions and comments via Twitter and Facebook. At the same time that the first season premiered, Zac helped to open a second location of Flex Mussels, the New York restaurant where he is Executive Pastry Chef. There, he is responsible for a dessert menu that compliments the almost all seafood menu.
You may also have caught him on Cooking Channel's Unique Sweets. And of course, fellow alum and graduate of the Culinary Arts program Gail Simmons is well-known as the host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, and is also a regular judge on Top Chef.
ICE’s alumni continue to shine in the pastry world. We can’t wait to see what they whip up next!