Gina DePalma, the beloved pastry chef who spent much of her career at Mario Batali’s Babbo, has died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. On Twitter, Batali called DePalma “the finest pastry chef I’ve ever known.”
In 1998, DePalma was hired as Babbo’s opening pastry chef, and would remain there for 15 years, departing in 2013 to travel and draw inspiration for her next cookbook. During her long tenure at Babbo, DePalma was also nominated seven times for the James Beard Foundation's Outstanding Pastry Chef, and finally won in 2009. Her cookbook, Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, was published in 2007.
In September, DePalma shared on her blog that she was preparing herself for a second surgery related to her ovarian cancer. “So wish me good luck, send me some good vibes, and do some good stuff while I'm out of commission. Hug your friends and family, kiss your pets, water your plants and send some thanks up to the universe. Adopt an elephant! Check out some goats in trees! Learn how to juggle, in five freaking minutes! Make and/or eat some lasagna, because as my former chef Mario says, lasagna is love, baby!”