Jacques has designed and built his own chocolate manufacturing plant in Brooklyn, NY, where he is currently indulging in his chocolate fantasies on a daily basis.
Jacques Torres grew up in Bandol, France, a small town in the southern region of Provence. At age 15, he began an apprenticeship at La Frangipane, a small pastry shop in his home town. After two years, he completed his apprenticeship requirements and graduated first in his class. He continued his practice in La Cadiere d'Azur.
In 1980 on a bet with a friend, he approached the Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco and innocently inquired for a job. Maximin gave him an hour to return to work with a chef's coat, thus starting a culinary relationship that would last 8 years and take him around the globe. At the Hotel Negresco, he refined his skills and nurtured his intuitive sense of confectionery artistry.
From 1980-1983, he went back to school on his days off to earn the degree of Master Pastry Chef. He taught pastry at a local culinary school in Cannes from 1983-1986. During these years, he was also honing his skills in preparation for the infamous Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition. In 1986, Jacques was awarded the prestigious M.O.F. medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction.
The list of Jacques' culinary awards and achievements during that time included participation in the rededication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty honoring French President Francois Mitterand and United States President Ronald Reagan; receipt of the gold medal of the Japanese Pastry Chef Association; winner of the 1986 French Championship of Desserts; and participation in numerous competitions and culinary events in France.
In 1988, Jacques received a call from his friend, Jean Pierre Dubray of the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company. On the beach in Nice, Jean Pierre asked Jacques to move to the United States as Corporate Pastry Chef. He launched the opening of their hotel in Palm Springs and, later that year, transferred to the corporate headquarters in Atlanta.
In 1989, the legendary Sirio Maccioni invited Jacques to work at New York's most famous restaurant, Le Cirque. He enticed him with a $100,000 custom-built pastry kitchen. For 8 years, Jacques served presidents, kings, and celebrities. In 1996, Mr Maccioni "closed" Le Cirque and in April of 1997, the new Le Cirque 2000 was born, with a $1,000,000 pastry kitchen built to Jacques' specifications.
Jacques is dedicated to providing a training ground for future professionals in the field. He serves as Dean of Pastry Arts at the French Culinary Institute where he designed the pastry school and its classrooms, designed and wrote the curriculum and where he continues to provide educational experiences through lectures and demonstrations.
Chef Torres has also enjoyed many honors and awards, judged competitions and participated in culinary events. He donates his time to many national charity organizations such as the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Gods Love We Deliver, New York's Hard of Hearing Association, Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center, the Association to Benefit Children, and many others.
Jacques continues to appear in newspapers, magazines and trade press. He has made numerous television appearances. His long list of achievements in the United States includes Julia Child's Master Chefs television series; James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year; Pierre Franey's Birthday Celebrations; Chefs of America Pastry Chef of the Year; Chocolatier Magazine's 10 Best Pastry Chefs; and member of Academie Culinaire de France.
In January 1998, Jacques starred in his very own 26 episode public television series entitled, Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres. The companion cookbook, "Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make At Home" (William Morrow) was nominated for a 1999 James Beard Award. In 1999, he created the second television series and wrote the companion cookbook, "Dessert Circus At Home" (Morrow, 1999).
He is working on a third book and has designed and built his own chocolate manufacturing plant in Brooklyn, NY, where he is currently indulging in his chocolate fantasies on a daily basis.... Read more.