Chef Claire Clark
Indulge with The French Laundry's Claire Clark
Claire Clark has loved to bake since she was very young. Growing up in the suburbs of London, the kitchen was the hub of her home. There you would often find her and her brother helping their mother bake. Her passion continued and, years later, Chef Clark is an internationally acclaimed pastry chef and boasts a stellar resume.
Darren was born in Nottinghamshire, England and after graduating college with the U.S. equivalent of a bachelor's degree in culinary arts he went on to train at the prestigious Savoy Hotel in London.
Chef Clark began her professional cooking career as a grill chef at the age of seventeen. The overly masculine environment of the kitchen was quite a shock for the daughter of a country parson straight out of college. Still, she was determined to succeed.
She honed her craft under legendary Swiss patissiers Ernest Bachmann and John Huber, and now serves as pastry chef at The French Laundry in California, which is among the state's best known and loved restaurants.
Chef Clark Leads a World Class Pastry Career
Chef Clark's remarkable career has run its course through such stellar British restaurants as The Ritz Hotel, The Intercontinental at Hyde Park Corner, and Sir Terence Conran's Bluebird Restaurant on Kings Road. She has also taught at Le Cordon Bleu, helped plan and set up the pastry department at The House of Commons, and headed the pastry kitchen at the Claridge's Hotel in London, where she became the only female recipient of the "Meilleur Ouvrier de la Grande-Bretagne" (MOGB) or Best Crafts Worker of Great Britain - the highest award to be given on the grounds of professional excellence.
Chef Clark helped open the Wolseley, a famous Piccadilly restaurant and considered one of the top 50 restaurants in the world by Restaurant Magazine. Chef Clark was later chosen as "Best Pastry Chef" for 2005 by the same publication. It was at the Wolseley that Chef Clark first met Thomas Keller, restaurateur and author of the award-winning The French Laundry Cookbook. After sampling her desserts, he immediately invited her to join him at The French Laundry in Northern California, where her extraordinary pastry creations now complement his menus.
Chef Clark's desserts have paraded across the lawns of Buckingham Palace and appeared on the plates of the most discerning food critics, winning international acclaim from industry leaders.
Chef Clark now lives in Yountville, in the Napa Valley of Northern California.