As the executive pastry chef at Bobby’s Flay’s New York City restaurant, Gato, as well as his Bahamas and Las Vegas locations of Mesa Grill, ICE Pastry & Baking Arts alum Clarisa Martino knows what it’s like to have every eye on her. In her 11 years in Chef Flay’s kitchens—her first position an ICE externship at Mesa Grill—Clarisa has more than earned her stripes, gaining such accolades as a 2013 “Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America” award from Dessert Professional magazine. We checked in with Clarisa to learn what inspires her signature desserts and what it’s really like to work for a celebrity chef.
What is it like working for a celebrity chef?
Working for Bobby has been such a great experience overall. He’s a person, even though he’s a celebrity chef. He has always been extremely approachable and easy to talk to. What’s more, working for him has provided me with incredible opportunities to travel—for example, opening the Mesa Grill location at Atlantis in the Bahamas or overseeing pastry production at the Mesa Grill in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. He has also taken me and other members of the team to Food & Wine festivals, which offers opportunities to meet other chefs, network, etc. These elements make my job very unique; they’re things that not many pastry chefs are able to do.