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In May, the Washingtonian named PS 7’s pastry chef Naomi Gallego one of the 40 people under 40 to keep an eye on. Apparently the Four Seasons Hotel Austin did just that. Last month, the luxury hotel hired Gallego as executive pastry chef to, according to the Austin Chronicle, “design and oversee the production of breads, pastries, and desserts for the hotel and especially the new Trio restaurant, which just opened this fall.”
Gallego’s move to Texas, perhaps, is not surprising. She graduated from St. Phillips College in San Antonio with a degree in culinary arts management and made breads and desserts for La Mansion del Rio Hotel in Alamo City. (She also is, according to her PS 7’s bio, only “the third American in the past decade to complete the master program” at the respected Konditormeisterschule in Cologne, Germany.)
As you’d expect, Gallego’s departure is a major blow to PS 7’s owner and chef Peter Smith, who had been working with the pastry chef for four years, both at his new Chinatown restaurant and at Vidalia before that. “I was bummed out,” says Smith, noting that the two had hit their stride with the dessert menu, which features can’t-eat-just-one mini-doughnuts and the over-the-top decadent dark chocolate linzer cake. “But I’m also very happy for her…It’s a huge step for her.”
Smith has been advertising for a new pastry chef but hasn’t found any good candidates yet. In the meantime, he and Janeela Hassan, Gallego’s assistant, continue to keep pace on desserts and develop a new menu.