HSING CHEN – PASTRY CHEF / CULINARY STORYTELLER
Chef Hsing Chen always had a passion for the pastry arts and started working in kitchens on her journey to become a food writer. As an Emmy award-winning journalist, she went on to study the culinary arts to enhance her journalism degree from Santa Clara University. She has had articles published in Edible Magazine, CocoAroma, Gilt Taste and Womanista.
Chen loved making pastries and decided to continue to hone her craft in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the country. She led the pastry team at The French Laundry in Yountville, California. She also spent time at Masa’s in San Francisco and helped open Manresa Restaurant in Los Gatos. Chen moved to New York City where she became the Executive Pastry Chef at Country Restaurant where she oversaw the fine dining restaurant along with a busy bistro. She brought back the long lost tradition of the mignardis cart presented at the end of fine-dining meals. Her cart offered as many as thirty varieties of petit fours and confections.
She later did stints as Corporate Pastry Chef for Jean-Georges Management where she created desserts for Mercer Kitchen, JoJo, Perry Street and Vong in New York City. Chen went on to be the Executive Pastry Chef for the Peninsula Hotel in New York City. With her experience in fine-dining combined with her cultural heritage, she created traditional French pastries with Asian flair. During her time in NYC, Chen was listed as one of New York City’s top cake/dessert stylists in New York Magazine.
Chen relocated to Chicago and became the Executive Pastry Chef at the Peninsula Hotel in Chicago. With her expertise in all areas of pastry she managed a staff of pastry cooks and bakers that produced for all the food and beverage outlets of the hotel. These included breakfast pastries and french pastries for Pierrot Gourmet, fine-dining desserts and afternoon tea for the Lobby, Chinese influenced desserts for Shanghai Terrace as well as creating custom dessert buffets for banquets. Chen showcased her passion for chocolate each week with a decadent chocolate buffet each Friday and Saturday in the Lobby.
Since leaving the Peninsula Hotel, Chen consults on dessert menus for many of Chicago’s popular restaurants and hotels. She is the sweet stylist of eye-catching desserts and designs custom cakes for special events. Her desserts and have been featured in several publications/media including Today’s Chicago Woman, The Chicagoist, ABC News, CS Magazine, Food Arts. Chen resides in downtown Chicago with her husband, Doug Psaltis who is a chef/partner with Lettuce Entertain You. They are a culinary power couple that loves to cook together and travel the world experiencing different cultures. Their itinerary is always scheduled around culinary adventures from haute cuisine to street food.
Please share an off-menu family recipe (or description) or a personal intergenerational food story
My mom makes a zongzi (glutinous rice stuffed with different fillings steamed in bamboo leaves) every year. Doug riffs on this family classic by creating a late night fried rice (off menu) with the fillings of Chinese sausage, fried shrimp, shitake mushroom, bamboo shoots, topped with a fried egg.
What does being a part of the LUCKYRICE inaugural dinner series signify to you?
Being a part of the inaugural dinner series signifies a celebration of Chinese dishes passed down through generations and created for modern day.
What do you think of the Asian food moment right now?
I think there is more than a moment right now. It is amazing to see the acceptance, respect and innovation of so many Asian cuisines being celebrated in our society. The current generation of chefs are holding on to traditions learned from their parents and refining the style so that they continue to evolve.
Join Chef Hsing Chen and husband Chef Doug Psaltis for the LUCKYRICE BREAKING BAO: A Family Affair Dinner in Chicago on October 18th at Ramen-san Fulton Market. The dinner will represent the family’s interpretation of a traditional dynasty dinner and will re-enact some favorite dishes that were learned from cooking side by side with Chef Hsing’s mother.