Ryan Stipp

Ryan Stipp

Fermented

Hailing from Macon, Georgia; Ryan graduated top of his class and obtained degrees in pastry arts, culinary arts, and restaurant management from Southeast Culinary and Hospitality College in Bristol, Virginia. Upon finishing his internship at the Blackthorn Club in Jonesborough, Tennessee, he began his career by taking over as their pastry chef in 2011. American Cake Decorating magazine has done a few different write-ups on Ryan throughout the year of 2014. Ryan has endured a Food Network competition called King Of Cones, where he placed 2nd in his episode. Ryan currently runs a wine and dessert bar known as Fermented. Never settling for complacency, he is always looking for new challenges, techniques, and knowledge to further his abilities and to deepen his passion. His next mission is to start bridging the gap between the cake world and the pastry world so that they can coexist harmoniously. He currently resides in Kingsport, Tennessee.

Eric Kroeker

Eric Kroeker

Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas

A little about me: Born in Columbus Ohio and I love sports. I was originally working towards a sports broadcasting degree, but the way things worked out, I was able to get into the Pastry Field and have been very happy working in the field.

Notable companies I worked for:
Norwegian Cruise Line America (HI)
Potowatomi Bingo Casino (WI)
Waukesha County Technical Collage (WI)
Bellagio (NV)
Caesars Palace (NV)

Cesar Barachina

Cesar Barachina

Chef Cesar Barachina started his career at an early age. When he was able to walk and talk, he was in the kitchen with his parents helping them cook the next family meal. As he grew up, the culinary arts was in his blood with his grandfather, father and brother being executive chefs. It was destined that he was to follow into the family tradition and take the culinary path.

So after graduating high school he attended the Florida Culinary Institute of West Palm Beach and enrolled in there International Baking and Pastry program where he discovered his love and passion for pastries. Studying under Chef Jack Marshall and Chef Manfred Schmitcke, Cesar honed his pastry and bread making skills. After graduating and earning his Associates degree, he decided to travel and learn from other great pastry chefs around the world. He traveled to Europe, Asia, and Australia to name a few, while staging in hotels, restaurants and anywhere he could, to learn and work with some of the great pastry chefs of the world.

When he finished traveling he settled down and started to work for companies such as The Ritz Carlton Hotels, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Hilton Hotels. Most recently he has worked for L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles, Louisiana as the Pastry Sous Chef and was the assistant to Pastry Chef Bill Foltz, one of the top 10 sugar artist in the US. Now Cesar has taken a bigger role in his career as he has assumed the role of the Pastry Chef at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York.

Cesar is asked all the time why do you like pastry so much? His response “It’s not that I like it. It’s that I love it. It is my passion and my love to create great works of art and to put great flavor into them.” Cesar doesn’t see being a Pastry Chef as a career, but he sees it has his life and an adventure. Even with his new role, he never stops learning by attending pastry classes, keeping abreast with the latest pastry literature, competitions and pastry trends, he continually push himself forward. His very good friend Chef Rudy Van Veen once said, “Pastry will consume you and take over you and just enjoy the ride.”

Most recently Chef Cesar has competed in Pastry Live 2014 in Atlanta,GA in the categories of Chocolatier of the Year; Signature plated Dessert, and The Verrine competition. Chef Cesar also competed on The Food Network’s show called Sugar Dome in the episode “Cops and Robbers” in which he won 1st place and $15,000 in prize money. and he also competed in the 24th Annual US Pastry Competition for Pastry Chef of the Year in New York.

Samantha Mendoza

Samantha Mendoza

A native Houstonian, Samantha Mendoza enrolled in the Art Institute of Houston the age of 18 with a focus on baking and pastry. While in school, after watching her Instructor Manuel Catemaxca compete in the Chef Olympics in Germany, she was inspired to start competing. A natural in the competition forum, Samantha brought home two silver and two bronze medals at ACF competitions in Houston, Dallas, Las Vegas, and Conroe.

At the age of 19 she started her first pastry cook job at Bedford by Robert Gadsby, who apprenticed with renowned chefs Alain Chapel, Joel Robuchon and Alain Ducasse. Robert and his Sous Chef Matthew Nall mentored and led her encouraged her to continue developing her skills and natural talents for the pastry industry. A year later she started at The Hilton Downtown Houston where she gained knowledge and experience in high volume production. She traveled through Germany, Italy, France, Amsterdam, and Spain to gain an understanding and appreciation of the techniques employed by pastry chefs worldwide.

At the age of 25 she is currently the Executive Pastry Chef at Triniti. With the support of Chef Ryan Hildebrand she attended lectures and hands on classes at The French Pastry School on chocolate application in the pastry world under Chef Thierry Mulhaupt further enhancing her repertoire. Triniti has become a home away from home for Samantha. She plays an integral role in all aspects of the culinary program at Triniti. She has developed seasonal menus working closely with the savory side of the kitchen to produce cohesive, collaborative menus that reflect her talents and growth as a true professional artist. Her contributions to the Mercury dinner, a collaboration of food, wine, and music with Mercury the Orchestra Redefined have exemplified her dedication to craft and execution. Her recent invitations in 2013 to compete in both ICC Star Chef and Pastry Live competitions further demonstrate her growing national attention. She is currently nominated for one of the best pastry chef’s in Houston. Under the guidance of Chef Hildebrand, Samantha has laid the groundwork and formed the cornerstones of what is sure to be one of the strongest young pastry programs in the country and now looks to the future as the Executive Pastry Chef for Brande Restaurant Group helming the baking and pastry programs for both Triniti and FM 903 including her own pastry showcasing her creations.