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. In September 2014, Chef Iuzzini will release his second cookbook, Sugar Rush: Master Tips, Techniques, and Recipes for Sweet Baking, which takes a more basic approach to the preparation of more traditional desserts that many home cooks can follow with ease.
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.
In June 2014, Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts announced it’s
inaugural global éclair program in partnership with Chef Iuzzini. Over a
12-month period, he will create eight signature éclair recipes inspired
by his travels throughout the hotel’s destinations. The series titled
“The Éclair Diaries,” began in San Francisco.
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.