Christian Castillo

Christian Castillo

Pricci
Buckhead Life Restaurant Group

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Chef Christian Castillo brings a new, fresh face to the Pricci pastry program. His passion for bold flavors and interest in molecular gastronomy fuel his creativity for creating innovative, unique and delicious pastries and desserts. He likes to experiment with savory and sweet flavors, creating the perfect balance to finish off a great Italian meal.

Christian graduated with Honors from Le Cordon Bleu with a degree in pâtisserie and baking. While in school and following graduation, he worked for three years under Pastry Chefs Heather Hurlbert and Alex Hwang at Cherokee Town and Country Club in Atlanta before taking the helm at Pricci.

Christian lives in Atlanta with his wife Juliana. In his spare time, he enjoys making pasta at home, exercising, painting and writing poetry.

Tori McKinley

Tori McKinley

Madd Sweets

With a passion for food Tori McKinley threw herself head-first into the restaurant world. After several years in the restaurant industry, Tori graduated from The Art Institute of Atlanta under Chef Paul Bodrogi in 2008. She quickly became the Pastry Chef at Honey Bee Bakery in Oxford, Mississippi making Artisan Breads, Pastries, and Specialty Cakes for Owner/Pastry Chef, Shannon Adams, whom Tori credits much of her baking knowledge to.

In 2012, Tori travelled to New Zealand and studied the work of Pastry Chef and Chocolatier, Kevin Martin. After returning to Atlanta, she became the Pastry Chef at Affairs To Remember Caterers. In 2014 at Pastry Live, Tori unveiled “Madd Sweets.” Madd Sweets specializes in catered desserts for private events and specialty cakes, and is described as “familiar flavors revisited with fun.”

Tori is currently the Assistant General Manager and Event Coordinator at Tavernpointe in Atlanta, Georgia. In her spare time, Tori continues to compete in the pastry world and work on developing Madd Sweets.

Katie Mansi

Katie Mansi

The Maryland Club

Born in Central Maryland, Katie Mansi grew up spending most of her free time in her Grandma Pat’s kitchen. She developed a passion for baking at a young age but only saw it as a hobby until about 19, which is when she decided to attend culinary school at Anne Arundel Community College. Through her school she was able to participate in a five month culinary internship on the coast of Amalfi in the summer of 2009. Upon returning from Italy, she was hired at The Maryland Club, a private club in the heart of Baltimore, as a prep cook. She has eventually worked her way up the ranks at the club and is now the Executive Pastry Chef.

Nguyet Nguyen

Nguyet Nguyen

Hubbell & Hudson

Pastry Chef Nguyet Nguyen didn’t find her true calling until she reconsidered her future as a pre-med undergrad at the University of Kansas. After completing her Human Biology Bachelor’s degree, Nguyet exchanged her lab jacket for a chef’s jacket. It was the combination of the precision of science and the creative freedom of art that made her fall in love with pastry. She enrolled in Johnson County Community College’s (JCCC) pastry program and committed herself wholeheartedly to pastry art. As her skills developed so did her competitive spirit, which lead to several medals in American Culinary Federation’s culinary competitions including 2010 Central Region Pastry Chef of the Year. After working for the 40 Sardines Restaurant and the Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, in 2010 he accepted the position of Assistant Pastry Chef at Houston Country Club, where she worked alongside chef Jeffrey Guy for two years. In 2012, she became Executive Pastry Chef of Artisans restaurant in midtown Houston. In 2013, in search for her entrepreneurial skills Chef Nguyet founded the Nougat Desserts & Confections, where she sold baked goods and confections at Houston’s farmer’s markets (Urban Harvest and Grogan’s Mill) highlighting local and seasonal products.