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Ji Yoon in as Acadia pastry chef; Thomas Raquel NYC-bound

Two concurrent noteworthy items from the world of Chicago pastry chefs: First comes news that Thomas Raquel is departing South Loop’s Acadia for New York. He will be taking over as executive pastry chef at Le Bernardin, the renowned seafood-centric restaurant in Midtown Manhattan headed by chef Eric Ripert. Last September, the Tribune named Raquel one of the city’s up-and-coming pastry chefs to watch.

"This is a job of a lifetime," said the 27-year-old Raquel. "At the same token, I'm leaving a family here. My pastry chef peers here, they become your family. That makes it tough. But I will be back in Chicago; one day I'll move back here."

This marks the second time this year a Chicago chef has taken over a three Michelin-starred pastry program elsewhere Patrick Fahy, formerly of Blackbird and Sixteen, moved on to The French Laundry this past spring.

The other news, more relevant to Chicagoans, is who’s replacing Raquel at Acadia: Ji Yoon, the French Pastry School graduate who most recently headed the pastry program at The Gage and Henri. The Korean-born Yoon, 38, previously logged time at Boka, Blackbird and Balsan/Ria at the former Elysian Hotel.

"Working at a gastropub (The Gage), what you see is what you get. A tart has to be a tart," Yoon said. "But at Acadia, you can break it down, it doesn't have to be its traditional component. I just thought wow, I could really have fun with this."

Yoon started at Acadia two weeks ago.

kpang@tribune.com
Twitter @pang 

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