ICC Pastry Arts Director Jansen Chan Wants To Do Away With "Palate Fatigue"
Growing up with a father who relished baking gave pastry chef Jansen Chan the foundation needed for what would eventually become his own lifelong passion. "I never really thought baking was the thing for me," he explains. "I always just enjoyed it because it was something we did at home, and it was relaxing and fun."
An innate interest in design led Chan to pursue an architecture degree at UC Berkeley, but he never strayed too far from those formative years with his father. "I was the one who would always bake in my dorm room," he notes.
Two years into his first post-college job as a junior architect, Chan realized he missed the hands-on and results-oriented work he was practicing in school and decided to try his luck in the food industry. He applied to three restaurants via his local paper. Only one responded. "He thought I was crazy," Chan says. "I had an architecture degree from UC Berkeley, had zero kitchen experience, and I wanted this very elementary pastry cook job. But he hired me, and one month in, I knew it was exactly what I wanted to do."
From there, Chan stepped into a series of reputable pastry roles in the kitchens of Kuleto's, John Frank, Essex House, and Oceana before joining the team at the International Culinary Center (462 Broadway, 888-324-2433) in 2012 as the Director of Pastry Arts. Here, we chat with Chan about why there's no room for regrets, why he keeps his eyes and ears open (always), and the one piece of advice he leaves his graduating students.