Jacques Torres grew up in Bandol, France, a small town in the southern region of Provence. At age 15, he decided to try the world of baking. During his next vacation, he began an apprenticeship at La Frangipane, a small pastry shop in his hometown. After two years, he completed his apprenticeship requirements and graduated first in his class.
In 1980 on a bet with a friend, he approached the Michelin two-star chef Jacques Maximin at the Hotel Negresco and innocently inquired for a job. Maximin gave him an hour to return to work with a chef's coat and start a relationship that would last 8 years and take him around the globe.
He went back to school on his days off to earn the degree of Master Pastry Chef. He taught pastry at a local culinary school in Cannes from 1983-1986. During these years, he was also honing his skill in preparation for the infamous Meilleur Ouvrier de France competition. In 1986, Jacques was awarded with the prestigious M.O.F. medal, the youngest chef to earn the distinction.
In 1988, the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company petitioned Mr. Torres to the United States as Corporate Pastry Chef. He launched the opening of their hotel in Palm Springs and, later that year, transferred to the corporate headquarters in Atlanta. Shortly after, the legendary Sirio Maccioni invited Mr. Torres to work at New York's most famous restaurant, Le Cirque. He enticed him with a custom-built pastry kitchen. For the next 11 years Mr. Torres served presidents, kings, and celebrities in his every day work.
Mr. Torres continues to appear in newspapers, magazines and trade press. He frequently makes television guest appearances on NBC's Today Show and Later Today, various shows on TV Food Network, and public television programs with some of the world's top culinary professionals. Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres, an internationally broadcast public television series premiered in January 1998. The response towards this program was so overwhelming that Mr. Torres wrote a companion cookbook and began a second season of the show the following year. In February of 2002, his new 13-episode television series will premier on the Television Food Network. He is currently at work on a third book and additional television projects.
The new millennium brought Mr. Torres to another adventure. In December 2000, Mr. Torres opened his own chocolate factory serving the wholesale and retail markets. His factory specializes in fresh, handcrafted chocolates that are free of preservatives and artificial flavors. Mr. Torres has given new life to classic recipes. Throughout his career, Mr. Torres has generously donated his time to many national charity organizations such as the American Red Cross, Meals on Wheels, Gods Love We Deliver, New York's Hard of Hearing Association, Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center, the Association to Benefit Children and many others.
He serves as Dean of Pastry Studies at New York's French Culinary Institute. He has also opened his pastry kitchen at Le Cirque to aspiring students and shared his passion for the art of pastry. He is dedicated to providing a training ground for the future professionals of the field works diligently to further the causes of his profession.
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