Iuzzini melds edginess, elegance in desserts

Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:07am EST
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By Richard Leong

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - With his color tattoos and pompadour hair, it's easier to imagine Johnny Iuzzini as a rock musician than a prize-winning dessert maker.

The 34-year-old has been the executive pastry chef at Michelin three-star Jean Georges in New York City since 2002, following stints with esteemed chefs Daniel Boulud and Francois Payard.

In addition to his numerous culinary awards, including James Beard Foundation's outstanding pastry chef of the year, a local newspaper named Iuzzini New York City's sexiest chef in 2007.

He recently published his first cookbook, "Dessert FourPlay", featuring his signature pairings of complementary flavors and textures.

Iuzzini, who grew up in upstate New York, spoke to Reuters about his image and his passion for pastry.

Q: How do your desserts reflect your personality and edgy persona?

A: "I'm definitely a risky person, a chancy person. If you see me and my desserts, you wouldn't necessarily draw a line between me and my desserts. My desserts are a reflection of where I've worked over the years, the high quality restaurants and the chefs I've worked for."

Q: So your desserts are a blend of your personality and experiences?   Continued...

<p>Prize-winning dessert maker Johnny Iuzzini poses in this November 2008 handout photograph. REUTERS/Ryan Pfluger/Handout</p>