Chicago pastry veteran Della Gossett has gone Hollywood. Beverly Hills, actually.
Gossett, the award-winning former pastry chef at Charlie Trotter's, bid Chicago adieu to start her new job last week as executive pastry chef at Spago Beverly Hills. The flagship of Wolfgang Puck's restaurant empire, it underwent a major renovation last summer.
For the last three years, Gossett was an instructor at Chicago's French Pastry School, 226 W. Jackson Blvd., which brought her back to her roots. An arts education major, she had worked as a teacher before trading in progress reports for pate a choux.
While at the French Pastry School, Gossett helped clinch the 2011 National Pastry Team Championship and the silver medal at the 2012 World Pastry Team Championship.
But while grooming patissiers-in-training and competing on the world stage was satisfying, Gossett realized how much she craved the restaurant world.
"I missed being in the kitchen and I missed cooking," said Gossett from the Spago office. "That's why I got into this in the first place."
Over the years, she and Yard had talked, as close friends do, about job opportunities and change, and when Yard's own career took a turn, "she gave me a call," Gossett said.
"I've always been open to moving anywhere in the world, and this looked like an amazing opportunity to me," said the Aurora native.
After nearly a decade as Trotter's pastry chef and six years at the old Trio in Evanston, Gossett knows well the intensity of the fine-dining environment.
She is adjusting — happily — to the embarrassment of riches the L.A. farmers markets provide.
"Here the markets are so abundant, and there's so much variety of produce all year-round. I can go to the farmers markets every single day. That alone is amazing for a chef because that's where creativity comes in," she said.
Gossett and Yard will work together until Feb. 24. Yard's last event that day is the Oscars and the Puck-catered Governors Ball.
"I just went to visit the site the other day and was just pinching myself," Gossett said. "You only see that on TV."
Most of us, anyway.