Young and Hungry

Is Pastry Chef Amanda Cook Leaving CityZen?

amanda cook, chefY&H typically doesn't engage in speculation when it comes to matters of kitchen personnel, but I had to find out if the Beard-nominated pastry chef, Amanda Cook, was leaving CityZen after a source forwarded this job listing from Craigslist. The open position? "Pastry Chef — CityZen."

I caught CityZen chef Eric Ziebold just as he was catching a plane back to D.C. He said he had about two minutes to talk. He told me that Cook is still making pastries at the restaurant inside the Mandarin Oriental. The open position is actually to replace the departing assistant pastry chef.

But there's a caveat to that, Ziebold admitted.

The chef has been talking to Cook about her future plans, and he sort of/kind of expects her to move on after working at CityZen for more than three years now. Ziebold says he's basically expecting to groom his new assistant pastry chef, whoever that may be, for the top job.

I asked Ziebold if this had anything to do with Cook possibly landing a spot on the forthcoming Top Chef: Just Desserts, which will pit pastry chef against pastry chef. He said no. He hasn't even heard if Cook has made the cut for the reality program, though he knows she auditioned for it.

But he does know this: Cook's next move will not be something lateral, to another restaurant. "Her goal is her own restaurant and to do her own thing," Ziebold said.

"Which she should," he added about Cook, who earned a Beard nomination last month for Outstanding Pastry Chef. "In my opinion, I think she's a fabulous baker."

By the way, Ziebold asked if I knew of any good pastry chefs, which would seem to imply that he doesn't have anyone immediately in mind for the new job.

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