Johnny Iuzzini interest in the pastry arts began at age 17, when he started work at The River Café in Brooklyn, NY. Although his primary responsibility was garde manger, the young Johnny frequently visited the pastry kitchen to marvel as Pastry Chef Eric Gouteyron piped chocolate butterflies. He soon began assisting Chef Gouteyron after completing his kitchen shift, and eventually moved to pastry full time, cementing his desire to pursue a career as a pastry chef.
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America in 1994 with a degree in baking and pastry arts, Chef Iuzzini joined the pastry department of the original Daniel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Over the next three and a half years, he mastered all of the dessert stations and became Pastry Chef François Payard’s right-hand man. When Chef Payard launched his eponymous pastry shop in 1997, Chef Iuzzini joined the opening team and was named pastry sous chef, a position he held for six months.
In 1998, Chef Iuzzini apprenticed in some of France’s finest pâtisseries, including the famed Ladurée in Paris, and completed an intensive two-week chocolate course at L’Ecole DGF du Chocolat et Pâtisserie in Vigne. That fall, he returned to the U.S. for the debut of Café Boulud and participated in the opening of the 65th Street location of Daniel. For the next two years, he served as pastry sous chef at Daniel under Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Haas. During that time, Comité Colbert named Chef Iuzzini one of its “Emerging Young Artists of 2000.” In 2001, he was promoted to executive pastry chef, and shortly after his rise to the top job, Where magazine named his creations “Best Desserts in New York 2001.”
In May 2002, Chef Iuzzini was named executive pastry chef of Jean Georges Vongerichten’s famed four-star namesake restaurant as well as its café, Nougatine. In 2005, Chef Iuzzini joined Chef Vongerichten in opening Perry Street, where he assumed the role of executive pastry chef in addition to his responsibilities at Jean Georges and Nougatine. Perry Street soon earned a three-star review from The New York Times.
Chef Iuzzini has achieved much success since joining Jean Georges. In November 2002, he was named “Best New Pastry Chef” by New York magazine. In 2003, Chef Iuzzini was nominated for “Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation and won the prestigious award in 2006. He was also honored as one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” by Pastry Art and Design in both 2003 and 2004. And in 2007, Chef Iuzzini was recognized by Forbes.com as one of the 10 most influential chefs working in America today. In 2008, he released his first cookbook, Dessert FourPlay: Sweet Quartets from a Four-Star Pastry Chef.
For two seasons Chef Iuzzini was head judge on Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts alongside acclaimed chef Hubert Keller, DailyCandy editor-at-large Danniele Kyrillos, and host Gail Simmons.
In December 2011, Chef Iuzzini left his position as executive pastry chef for Vongerichten and began a year-long journey of discovery traveling across the country on his Ducati motorcycle. In 2012, Chef Iuzzini launched a consulting business called Sugar Fueled, Inc. and is working on his second cookbook due to be released in the fall of 2014. Johnny Iuzzini is a frequent guest on Food Network programs, Martha Stewart Radio, Rachael Ray, and Today shows and is actively involved at food festivals and his favorite charity, CookiesForKids.org.