We're pleased to announce the addition of four new forum hosts to the eGullet.com team: Neil Robertson ("nightscotsman") and Wendy DeBord ("Sinclair") have become Pastry & Baking forum co-hosts. Pedro Espinosa Silva ("Pedro") joins the Spain & Portugal forum hosting team. And Ron Kaplan ("ronnie_suburban") takes on co-hosting duties in the US Heartland forum. All are homegrown, all promoted from within our membership, the passion and enthusiasm of which continues to impress.
Neil Robertson ("nightscotsman") is a baker in the pastry kitchen at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. A recent career changer to the pastry profession, Neil was formerly a successful graphic designer and Web developer in Seattle before chucking it all and moving to Chicago to attend the French Pastry School. After graduating at the top of his class, he worked a couple brief stages at Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and at Trio in Evanston, IL. While he greatly enjoyed his time at the restaurants, his major goal was to get the widest possible experience doing high-quality pastry work. For him, working under Executive Pastry Chef and MOF Jean Philippe Maury and his team of top French and American pastry chefs at the Bellagio has been a dream come true.
Wendy DeBord ("Sinclair") is an accidental second-generation pastry chef. She attended a private art school at 16 where she won scholarships and awards, and yet she didn't know what her career would be. On weekends she washed dishes and played around at her mother's bakery. It was fun observing and baking came very easily to her. As time passed her Mother's bakery morphed into a gourmet off-premise catering business. She needed help, and soon she bribed Wendy out of art school to become her partner. By 21 Wendy was running the kitchen, working for famous, rich, and powerful people. "It was fun, it came easily, and it paid the bills," Wendy said, but it wasn't her true calling. After about 9 years of catering she needed to leave and be the artist she always dreamed of being. With the support of her husband she spent the next 10 years of her life learning how true the phrase "starving artist" was. Eventually she came back to the kitchen, since she wasn't having fun being an artist, and since baking was what she did best she found work as a pastry chef. It didn't take her long on the job before she realized that this still was a lot of fun, it still came easily to her and it never felt like "work." Today she works at private country clubs, is enjoying her work as much as ever and is obsessed with learning and teaching herself as much as possible about the career her mother loved first.
Born in Barcelona and living in Madrid, Pedro Espinosa Silva's ("Pedro") degree in Physics should have given him a privileged comprehension of molecular gastronomy. Instead, it gave him a managerial job in an IT consulting company. Perhaps the major in computer science and an Executive MBA had something to with it. Having grown up in a family with a great cook, his mother, he's been passionate about food since he was a child. During his student years he enjoyed the pleasures of fine dining. Ahead of his time, he did it virtually, reading the weekly reviews in the press. Now his position has turned less radical, and combines virtual and real experiences.
Ron Kaplan ("ronnie_suburban") is a chronic gastronaut who has lived in the Chicago area for most of his life. He was blasted into the World of Food during his early college years at Tulane University in New Orleans and has been chasing that dragon ever since. He owns a food ingredient business and has worked in the trade for the better part of 20 years. Ron is a member of the American Institute of Wine and Food, The Bread Bakers Guild of America, and the Institute of Food Technologists. He is a passionate and obsessive home cook, bread baker, and cookbook collector. When not obsessing about food, Ron can be found destroying harmonicas (and ear drums) or slaying baddies on-line, in virtual universes. He currently resides with his wife and son in the northern suburbs of Chicago.
New Forum Hosts Announced
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