Emily Luchetti, Chief Pastry Officer for Big Night Restaurant Group, San Francisco, California
With six cookbooks to her credit and numerous awards including the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef, Emily Luchetti has helped define what great pastry means in America.
As chief pastry officer for San Francisco’s Big Night Restaurant Group, Emily oversees pastry operations for The Cavalier, Marlowe, Petit Marlowe, Leo’s Oyster Bar and Park Tavern Restaurant. Prior to joining Big Night, Emily was executive pastry chef at San Francisco’s Farallon Restaurant from 1997-2014 and at Waterbar Restaurant from 2008-2014.
Emily began her culinary career in 1987 on the savory side of the kitchen at San Francisco’s legendary Stars restaurant before switching to the sweet side three years later. She was the pastry chef at Stars for seven years and co-owned the retail bakery StarBake.
Emily says The Perfect Purée has been one of her pastry station staples at least as far back as Stars.
“I never remember not knowing about it in my pastry career,” she says.
Emily mentioned The Perfect Purée in her cookbook “A Passion for Desserts” (2003) and featured it in the cover recipe for Passion Fruit Meringue Tartlets in “Four Star Desserts” (1995). Emily enjoys the combination of tart and sweet when she uses various flavors like Passion Fruit and Plum in her signature caramel sauce. She also uses The Perfect Purée to enhance seasonal recipes.
“I’m a seasonal person and in the summer I’ll use The Perfect Purée Red Raspberry Puree for a sauce because fresh raspberries dribble all over the place and it’s so much more consistent. The Red Raspberry Puree glues the raspberries berries together and gives them a gloss,” she says.
Along with the quality and versatility of The Perfect Purée’s flavors, Emily appreciates sourcing gourmet purées close to home.
“A lot of the competition is European and I like it that The Perfect Purée is made here in America. I’m really impressed with the quality and with how Tracy Hayward has built the company from something really small into the size it is now,” she says.
Emily has made appearances on the TV series Great Chefs, including Great Chefs — The Women and Great Chefs — Great Cities. Her numerous honors include the 2004 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. In 2009, the San Francisco Chronicle chose her as one of 20 Visionary Chefs in the Bay Area. Also that year, she was inducted into the Culinary Pioneers of America. In 2012, Emily was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. Emily has served on the James Beard Foundation Board of Trustees for the past 13 years, including five years as the chair of the James Beard Awards Committee and five years as the chair of the Board of Trustees.
A dedicated mentor, Emily is the dean of the International Culinary Center in New York and California, where she’s steered a state-of-the art curriculum for a new generation of pastry chefs. She is the founder of #dessertworthy, a movement to empower people to be more mindful of their sugar and fat consumption. She also serves as an Oxfam Sister of the Planet and as a Chef Ambassador for Wellness in the Schools (WITS).