James Beard Awards Outstanding Pastry Chef Nominees

Like the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards generate media hype and provoke intense speculation. On May 6th and 9th, food-lovers, journalists, and chefs will watch as the winners are announced. Five of the nations best bakers battle it out in the Outstanding Pastry Chef category. 1. Joanne Chang: A Harvard graduate with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, Joanne Chang runs Flour. A Boston bakery and cafe, Flour has earned Chang national media attention and critical acclaim.

2. Patrick Fahy: Working the pastry station at Blackbird, Patrick Fahy specializes in Italian pastries. A French Laundry veteran, Fahy crafts whimsical desserts like banana pain perdu with butterscotch, malt, pine nut, and bourbon barrel wood ice cream.

3. Dahlia Narvaez: After working with Nancy Silverton at Campanile, Narvaez joined Silverton and Mario Batali at Osteria Mozza. Her desserts are firmly rooted in the Italian tradition, ranging from a limoncello zabaglione to rosemary olive oil cakes.

4. Angela Pinkerton: Eleven Madison Park has become one of New York's most lauded restaurants, and Angela Pinkerton runs the dessert program. At Kent State University, she worked in a bakery making custom cakes-now, her desserts are elaborate and technically precise masterpieces.

5. Mindy Segal: Mindy's HotChocolate is one of Chicago's hottest dessert destinations. From "Thoughts on a Peanut Butter Cup" to a perfectly executed creme brulee, Segal's creations are divine. And of course there's an extensive hot chocolate selection, too.

Who do you think should win Outstanding Pastry Chef this year? For more on the James Beard Awards click here.