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Los Angeles native Nicole Plue has long been on the path to becoming one of the nation’s finest pastry chefs. After pursuing a degree in English from California State University, Plue continued her education at the California Culinary Academy, where she developed an abiding interest in pastry arts.  She began her restaurant career with an externship at Masa in San Francisco, from there went on to lead the celebrated bread program at Hawthorne Lane, and was soon promoted to pastry chef.  She describes her three formative years at Hawthorne as a career-defining experience.   

Plue then jumped coasts to New York when Danny Meyer recruited her to be the pastry chef on the opening team at Eleven Madison Park.  While on the East Coast, Plue also opened Terence Conran’s Guastavino’s. There, Martha Stewart “discovered” Plue while trying her desserts during a dinner and tapped her to develop recipes for the pastry and baking segments for Martha Stewart Living Television.  Plue then went on to manage the pastry programs at the three-starred AZ restaurant and its sister restaurant Pazo where her Red Wine Tart was named by William Grimes the “Best Dessert of 2004” in Bon Appetit.

Plue returned to California to serve as executive pastry chef at Julia’s Kitchen at COPIA in Napa.  She then held the same position at Richard Reddington’s Redd, and, during this tenure in 2010, she received the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef. 

In 2011, Plue happily accepted the position of executive pastry chef at Cyrus in Healdsburg, California, where she enjoyed the challenge of carrying out chef-owner Douglas Keane’s vision by way of the dessert course.  

In November of 2012, Plue added a new project to her pursuits: the launch of Sideshow by Nicole Plue, a line of ready-to-eat toppings and snacks. Comprised of various kinds of salty and sweet crunch, Sideshow gives a nod to beloved American cupboard staples like Saltine crackers and breakfast cereals, applying Plue’s deft pastry technique to familiar ingredients, producing unique treats. 

In addition to her James Beard Award, Plue’s accolades include being named Pastry Chef of the Year 1997 by San Francisco Magazine and Rising Star Chef by the San Francisco Chronicle. She is also the proud recipient of the Forever Green Award, bestowed by the Girl Scouts of American on the occasion of the organization’s 100th Anniversary.

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