The road from Toledo to the White House has to be a sweet one for premier pastry chef William "Bill" Yosses.
Last week, the White House announced that Mr. Yosses, who grew up in South Toledo, will be responsible for designing and executing dessert menus for state dinners, social events, holiday functions, receptions, and official luncheons hosted by President and Mrs. Bush.
While the announcement of Mr. Yosses' selection as White House executive pastry chef is recent, he has been working there since Nov. 1 on a contract basis. So he was quite involved with the holiday parties and entertaining.
He seems like the perfect choice for the post.
The son of Edward Yosses of Toledo has been part of the Toledo culinary landscape through the years with special visits here when time permitted. During the my years as The Blade's food editor, it's been fun watching his career.
Just last June, I talked with him via phone when I wrote about Sandusky's Wendy Kromer Confections. Ms. Kromer develops styles of cakes for Martha Stewart Weddings magazine editors in New York City four times a year. In the Spring 2006 issue, she collaborated with Mr. Yosses, who created cake flavors such as white-chocolate pistachio, mango papaya, and blackberry buttermilk. He baked the cakes; she decorated them for the magazine's photographers.
In 2003, Mr. Yosses was in town as a celebrity chef for the eighth annual Taste of the Nation at Gumbo's Bayou Grille at The Docks. If you attended that event, you may have tasted his Lemon Spice Macaroons. It was a dessert that he normally served plated with lemon lime sorbet at Citarella restaurant in New York City, where he was pastry chef at the time. Because the ice cream part was awkward for standing guests, he made the macaroons with lemon lime curd for the Toledo event.
In fact, Mr. Yosses is well known for taking basic elements of a dessert and combining them in exotic and delicious ways.
In June, 2002, Mr. Yosses headlined The Blade Taste Kitchen at the Taste of the Town food festival in downtown Toledo. Thanks to The Blade, I had fun presenting the free cooking demonstrations with local chefs and celebrity chefs.
As the premier celebrity chef that year, Mr. Yosses prepared Perfect Desserts at 6 p.m. on Friday. He featured warm vanilla cake, which he likened to a fallen souffle; at the restaurant it was served with vanilla bean ice cream, a vanilla sauce, and a thin vanilla tuille garnish. At our outdoor rustic kitchen - no oven and under a tent - he shared his recipe for the cake and enticed those at the demonstration to experience all the components of the dessert at Citarella when visiting New York City.
Trained in classical French cooking, he has been a chef for more than 30 years. Recently he assisted in the opening of Paul Newman's Dressing Room in Westport, Conn.; the restaurant features locally grown, artisanal, and organic food sources. He also was the executive pastry chef at Citarella and Joseph's in New York City, opened the pastry department of Bouley Restaurant and Bakery in New York City, operated the pastry department of the Tavern On the Green Restaurant in New York City, and was pastry chef at Montrachet Restaurant in New York City.
He is a graduate of the University of Toledo and has worked under chefs Daniel Boulud and then sous chef Thomas Keller at Polo Restaurant in New York City.
Mr. Yosses has recipes in Baking from The Heart, a Share Our Strength Cookbook by Michael J. Rosen (Broadway, $29.95). He was a James Beard Book Awards nominee in 1999 for Desserts for Dummies, the recipe book he co-wrote with former New York Times restaurant critic Bryan Miller.
Certainly he has a following of Toledoans who love his culinary expertise. Now he's on the radar screen of the rest of the nation.