2011 New York Rising Star Pastry Chef Jenny McCoy took a gamble after high school. Not ready to enter college proper, she enrolled in the Baking and Pastry program at Chicago’s Kendall College, mostly on a whim. Her parents might have trembled, but for McCoy, it was a win-win situation. If she liked baking, she’d have a viable career path. If she didn’t, she’d at least be a sought after dinner party guest. Lucky for McCoy, and her pocket book, she fell into baking with gusto. She was such a natural talent that her first jobs were in some of Chicago’s top restaurants, including Charlie Trotter’s, Blackbird, Gordon, and Bittersweet Bakery. It was in these kitchens that McCoy refined her palate and honed her talent for seasonal desserts.
Following such formative experiences in fine dining, McCoy took a decisive hiatus from professional baking, traveling to various countries in Europe and South and Central America to broaden her culinary vocabulary. When she realized that her interest in food extended beyond the kitchen, she returned to school and got her B.A. in Food Writing at DePaul University. When McCoy first returned to a pastry kitchen, it was in New Orleans, where the still young chef ran three restaurant pastry departments for Emeril Lagasse and contributed weekly to the “Cooking Blog” at Emerils.com. It wasn’t long before New York City’s siren call drew her north.
McCoy’s Big Apple arrival was a splash. She worked as opening pastry chef at Marc Forgione and oversaw pastry operations for both locations of A Voce. Now in the kitchen of Craft, McCoy fuses a career in finesse, seasonality, and discipline with her own bright personality—and a healthy appetite for creative risk-taking. When she’s not busy in the Craft kitchen, McCoy teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education, volunteers with Wellness in the Schools, and flexes her writer’s muscles with regular contributions to SeriousEats.com, HuffingtonPost.com, and a forthcoming dessert cookbook (keep your eyes on the shelves in 2013).