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The Chron's 2015 Rising Star Chefs Are All Pastry Chefs

An interesting twist to bring more diversity to the group.

There have been a fair number of complaints about the Chronicle's annual selection of Rising Star Chefs, a group that's been extremely short on women in recent years. (Manresa's Jessica Largey, who made last year's list, was the first woman to be on it in five years.) So for this year's list, the Chron took action and decided to only name pastry chefs as the rising stars, which quickly flipped the script: three of this year's winners are now women, the highest number in ages. The five winners are:

  • Laura Cronin, Perbacco
  • Maya Erickson, Lazy Bear
  • Colin Kull, Range
  • Stephanie Prida, Manresa
  • Ry Stephen, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
"There's so much sweet talent in the Bay Area that it was far from easy to narrow our list to five," writes Amanda Gold in the Chron. "That's pretty amazing given that over the past 23 years of choosing Rising Star Chefs, we've bestowed the title on just a handful of pastry masters," which have included Nicole Krasinski, Nicole Plue, Melissa Chou, and the late Heather Ho.

Here are some fun facts about the winners, culled from their individual profiles in the paper:
  • Cronin is a very motivated soul: she ran her first pastry program (at Zero Zero) at the age of 23, took over Perbacco's program at 25, and ran six half-marathons last year.
  • After leaving AQ, Erickson took some time off to travel and work in her mother's bakery. But her break was short-lived; when he saw her walking to grab a cup of coffee, Lazy Bear's David Barzelay pulled a U-turn to talk to her and offer her the gig.
  • Kull credits his development to working at Tartine Bakery, where he contributed to Chad Robertson's Tartine Book No. 3.
  • Prida tries to find one unfamiliar ingredient to use in each of her dishes; right now, it's raw coconut sugar.
  • The case of Stephen's stolen recipes remains yet to be solved, but he keeps coming up with new ones, including a fluffernutter cruffin.

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