It was pastry chef Michelle Kogan's culinary-inclined grandmothers and her stepmother's "over-the-top" cooking that instilled in her an early admiration for restaurants. "It was as if we were in a restaurant at home, which really made me want to be in a restaurant even more," she explains.
After graduating from the French Culinary Institute, she staged at a number of highly acclaimed New York restaurants -- including Jean Georges, Del Posto, and the Modern -- before landing a pastry sous chef position at Nobu 57, where she stayed for four years. It was there, under the guidance of executive pastry chef Gabriele Riva, that Kogan developed a heightened appreciation for Japanese cuisine and ingredients. "He is the person I pretty much owe everything to," Kogan says. "He hand trained me and invested a lot of his time into the process."More »