After meeting Executive Pastry Chef Joanne Gregory at the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs Conference in Atlanta, Sotto Sopra’s public relations and marketing representative, Dara Bunjon knew that Gregory and I should meet. Gregory, selected as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in Los Angeles, recently left her job as the Executive Pastry Chef at Universal Studios as her husband’s job brought them to Baltimore.
As the executive pastry chef at Universal, Gregory created the studio’s high quality, high volume, and all-scratch bakery: a 2000 square foot state-of-the-art production bakery. She supplied cakes, pastries, cookies, petit fours, miniature desserts, pies, tarts, breakfast items and custom cakes to 20 casual restaurants, 2 catering operations, a retail bakery and 5-star, fine dining restaurant for studio executives and celebrity guests.
I asked Joanne to name three memorable events she was involved with at Universal. The top of her list was the opening of Jurassic Park, the theme ride as well as the movie. “When the Grinch came out at Xmas, we created a Grinch village six feet by five feet out of pastillage and royal icing” stated Chef Gregory.
“Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith were celebrating their dual birthdays so they leased out a sound stage. The theme was Will as Superman and Jada as Superwoman. I worked with Universal Studios animators to draw the Smiths. I created a 6 foot by 5 foot Gotham City, which we lit. Then the 2 feet tall Will and Jada figures were added, standing mighty, overlooking Gotham." quipped Joanne.
So what is Joanne Gregory doing at Sotto Sopra? Chef Gregory has been working as a consultant, recreating the desserts I remember so well from Italy, even our cookies. From the start of your meal to the sweet finish, I want it to be memorable.
La Dolce Vita