In this dark time for Top Chef: Just Desserts*, we needed a hero. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait long – the Season 2 finale aired last night, and a new victor was chosen. Congratulations, Chris Hanmer! You are the next Top Chef of all things pastry.
Looking at his history, it’s not exactly surprising that he made it so far in the competition. The Costa Mesa native came up in the industry as a pastry chef at the Bellagio Hotel and several Ritz-Carlton locations, before making a name for himself as the youngest American to win the top title at the World Pastry Championship. In 2010, he made a transition to teaching by opening up the School of Pastry Design in Las Vegas where he provides instruction on subjects ranging from the basics to his specialty of chocolate showpieces.
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But resume aside, it’s not like Chris had an easy time of it. Sally Camacho and Matthew Petersen also made it to the finale, and both provided stiff competition. Unfortunately for Matthew, a middle-of-the-road savory bread offering paired with a quest to get outside his chocolate-y comfort zone by building a sugar-based showpiece conspired to land him in the runner-up slot. Sally knocked it out of the park with her bacon and gruyere-flecked savory bread, but was dinged for having Orlando (brought back as a sous chef) build her showpiece almost single-handedly.
Chris wasn’t without his faults either – faulty mechanics kept his brioches from properly sticking to his showpiece. But in the end, the judges saw his presentation as a cut above the rest. “I have a passion for helping people reach their goals,” Chris stated on his Bravo TV bio. Last night, he reached his own. Nice job!
(* -- If you don’t know, now you know. Yikes.)