Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills (A Four Seasons Hotel) announces the appointment of Chris Ford as Executive Pastry Chef starting Monday, October 19, 2015.
Ford will oversee the pastry department for the 395-room Hotel, including a 25,000 square foot (2,300 square metre) banquet operation, in-room dining sweets and amenities, and the pastry program at THE Blvd, the Hotel’s energetic all day dining spot overlooking the intersection of Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive.
Inspired to the kitchen by his grandmother, Ford was baking bread and testing recipes as a six-year-old growing up in Orlando, Florida. Upon reaching post-secondary-school age, he enrolled in the local Le Cordon Bleu and fell for dessert about halfway through. “Pastry really opened my mind,” he recalls. “There is so much creativity and really no boundaries.”
Following graduation, Ford took his talents first to an Orlando-area luxury hotel; then to the acclaimed New York dessert bar ChikaLicious; and finally to the opening of Trummer’s On Main in Clifton, Virginia. Along the way he learned how food “speaks” to him and how best to answer back: “Never give a peach more than it needs,” he says. During his time at Trummers, he was also awarded the “Rising Star” honour from StarChefs.com.
In 2011, Ford joined Michael Mina’s reputable team as Executive Pastry Chef of the new Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. There he enjoyed honing his pastry skills and expanding the range of his craft, overseeing a diverse array of outlets including Wit & Wisdom, a modern American tavern; PABU, a Japanese izakaya; LAMILL Coffee; and Splash Pool Bar & Grille, along with the Hotel’s banquet pastry, room service and amenity programs. While in Baltimore, Ford earned high praise including Food & Wine magazine’s “People’s Best New Pastry Chef of 2012,”Tasting Table’s “Best Pastry Chef 2012,” and was named “Baltimore’s Best Pastry Chef” by Baltimore magazine.
Ford left Four Seasons for a few years to serve as pastry chef of Thomas Keller’s celebrated Bouchon, Bouchon Bakery and Bar Bouchon, during which time he was named one of Zagat’s “30 Under 30” of Los Angeles. Following his time in LA, Ford teamed up with Bryan Voltaggio as corporate pastry chef, overseeing nine restaurants across the Mid-Atlantic region. While there, he orchestrated a series of “pastry takeovers” on Instagram featuring top pastry chefs from all over US. The highly visual social media collaborations not only celebrated the beautiful art of dessert, but also gave Ford the opportunity to partner with veteran pastry talents that he’s admired for years, such as Michael Laiskonis and Melissa Coppel.
Ford is thrilled to not only return to the West Coast but also to the Four Seasons family where he will bring his signature theme of “elegant nostalgia” that pays homage to – rather than reinterprets – classic desserts. In Baltimore, diners were offered delights such as the Baltimore Bar mixing peanuts, pretzels and chocolate in a nod to the classic Baby Ruth candy bar as well as to hometown boy Babe Ruth, and an airy banana cream puff with chocolate, coconut tapioca and hazelnut sherbet that is reminiscent of banana cream pie. Additionally he enjoys incorporating savoury into sweet – “something you can’t do the other way around” – for concoctions like Bacon Fiddle Faddle, or employing an “anti-griddle” to freeze ice cream to the bottom of pudding pops dipped in melted bittersweet chocolate and homemade sandwich cookies.
When not busy in the kitchen, he enjoys snapping photos and videos of sweet creations to post on his Instagramaccount and his blog, Butter Love & Hardwork which has been featured in several publications.
In addition to enjoying Ford’s pastries at THE Blvd or at a Hotel event, guests will be also be able to get a virtual taste by following Beverly Wilshire’s social handles and the hashtag #BWPastry.