As a cook, I see the arc of my career as a series of obstacles surpassed, an upward trajectory of constantly changing ambitions. Whether a student or seasoned professional, I think it’s crucial to keep leaning forward.
Michael Laiskonis joined ICE in 2012 fresh off of an eight-year tenure as Executive Pastry Chef at Le Bernardin. He has long been one of the industry's most creative and talented chefs, noted for having helped Le Bernardin earn four stars from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. Laiskonis was also named to America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs by Pastry Art & Design in both 2002 and 2003 and was Bon Appétit's Pastry Chef of the Year in 2004. Best known for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, he was presented with the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007. Most recently, Chef Laiskonis received the IACP's 2014 Culinary Professional of the Year Award, one of the most distiguished honors in the culinary field.
While Laiskonis is best known as a pastry chef, he spent most of the first half of his career on the savory side of the kitchen. He has also found great success outside the kitchen, as an active writer for publications including Gourmet, Saveur, and The Atlantic, and has appeared on television shows such as Top Chef: Just Desserts.
When asked about the path to finding his culinary voice, Laiskonis says: “I would have to say that my own culinary voice is a distillation of every environment I've been privileged to pass through and soak in over the last fifteen years. After equipping students with a battery of fundamental knowledge, we can then tell more personal stories, inspiring through experience. I enjoy the process of identifying that inner drive in cooks, extracting it, and guiding them along the path toward finding their own voice.”
Awards & Honors
- 2007 James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef
- 2014 IACP Culinary Professional of the Year
- 2014 Bon Appétit Pastry Chef of the Year
- 2002 Pastry Art & Design America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs
- 2003 Pastry Art & Design America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs
- Executive Pastry Chef, Le Bernardin, 2004-2012
Specialties/Areas of Interest
- Advanced pastry techniques
- Bean to bar chocolate production
- Plating techniques