Nina Acosta


Pastry Chef

Hyatt Regency Denver

Nina Acosta set out for her culinary journey in 2004 at Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis Minnesota. During a winter break trip back home to Colorado a blizzard caused her flight to be delayed for 3 days before she could return to school, where, coincidently, Nina was to start her baking and pastry course. Staying late to make up for lost credit, she fell in love with the technique and art of the pastry world. Nina graduated in 2006 with her culinary arts degree but never lost her new found intoxication for pastry.

Nina took internship at Chimney park bistro in Windsor, CO. Where she expressed her interest in learning all she could about baking and pastry. After entering a desert to local competition she won people’s choice award for best dessert, that moment Nina knew she would 100% pursue her love for pastry. Everything she knows about pastry Nina has self-taught herself from: “lots and lots of books, hands on practice and enquiring from willing mentors”.

Nina has worked from independent restaurants, Bistros, Country Clubs, to The Ritz Carlton. In February 2011 she was named Hyatt Regency Denver’s Pastry Chef where Nina and her team of five produce more made from scratch desserts than the 1100 room, 3 outlet hotel has ever seen before. After her first year, in 2012, she received Hyatt Regency Denver’s rising star award and sets her new goal to compete as an upcoming chef for competitions and charities all over the state of Colorado. Nina is incredibly honored to be a part of pastry live and eager to compete amongst exemplary pastry chefs from around the country.

Jove T. Hubbard


Executive Pastry Chef

David Burke’s Primehouse and
The James Chicago Hotel

Executive Pastry Chef Jove Hubbard oversees the dessert program at David Burke’s Primehouse, a modern American steakhouse, and The James Chicago hotel. He manages the pastry team and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of pastry production within the 300 luxury guest rooms at The James Chicago hotel including in-room dining, banquets, special events and desserts for over 200 guests, and all other luxury hotel amenities.

Chef Hubbard began his culinary career while apprenticing for culinary arts at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee as part of his curriculum at the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute in Arkansas. Chef Hubbard was sent to the Pastry department to fulfill a small portion of his apprenticeship program and realized his passion, never returning to the savory side. After graduating from the American Culinary Federation culinary apprenticeship, he went on to study baking and Pastry Arts at The California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Soon after, he was called to open The Peabody Little Rock Hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas as Executive Pastry Chef. After four years here, Chef Hubbard re-located to Chicago to study as an intern under Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer, Sebastien Canonne, and John Kraus at The French Pastry School. Following his continued culinary education with these world renowned chefs, Chef Hubbard held the role of Executive Pastry Chef at The Windsor Court Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana before his current position as Executive Pastry Chef at The James Chicago hotel.

Chef Hubbard has participated and achieved much acclaim in a variety of culinary competitions over the years, including The Southern Pastry Classic in Atlanta, Georgia, Barry Callebaut’s World Chocolate Masters finalist in 2006 and 2008, and 2010. Chef Hubbard has competed as a finalist on The Food Network Challenge: Chocolate Masterpieces. He was awarded Best Taste at the World Chocolate Masters USA selection for 2013, and 2nd place in the Fisrt Annual Chicago Restaurant Pastry Competition.

Joel Gonzalez


Executive Pastry Chef

JW Marriott Las Vegas

Joel Gonzalez III developed an appreciation and passion for food at a young age and has devoted his career to pastries for the last 12 years. He is now a well-versed pastry chef that has worked at some of the top luxury resorts and casinos in the world.

Developing flavors and creating desserts comes natural to Joel. He has also spent the last several years evolving as a sugar and chocolate artist competing in national and televised competitions. Joel is currently the Executive Pastry Chef at the JW Marriott Las Vegas.

2013 Signature Plated Dessert Competitors

After much deliberation, our final competitors for the Signature Plated Dessert competition have been chosen! It wasn’t an easy task as over twenty talented chefs applied for just 9 slots this year. But, the following will be competing on Monday, August 26th to see which of them has the top dessert:

  • Nina Acosta, Hyatt Regency Denver, Denver, CO
  • Charles Barrett, the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
  • Ami Dand, A Legendary Event, Atlanta, GA
  • Virginette Fitzpatrick, University Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL
  • Joel Gonzalez, JW Marriott Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV
  • Samantha Mendoza, Triniti, Houston, TX
  • Thomas Raquel, Acadia, Chicago, IL
  • Kayla Swartout, The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, TN

Congratulations to each and we’re excited to have such a talented line-up this year! Keep an eye out for more information on each of them as we draw closer to the event.