Leah Henderson was recently appointed pastry chef for D'Amico Catering. We caught up with her to learn more about her experiences in the industry... and her personal favorite sweet treats.
What are you looking forward to in your new role as pastry chef?
I’ve had the pleasure to work in fine dining for the past 25 years. Now, I’m excited to incorporate that level of perfection to elevate D’Amico Catering’s pastry program, especially at some of our more upscale venues and events.
How have past experiences helped you prepare for this position?
I spent my first four years in the food industry working in catering. My next job was at Buttercream Desserts doing dessert production and wedding cakes. For the past 24 years I have been overseeing the dessert programs for D’Amico & Partner’s full-service restaurants, which involved many difference cuisines, challenges and menus. All of these experiences have set me up for the vast, ever-changing world of catering.
How did you get into the industry?
I have a degree in food science and was planning a career in home economics, but it just didn’t fulfill that creative drive in me. When I helped out with a few catering gigs during college, I was hooked. The pastry part was actually self-taught. Although, my mother should probably get some credit!
What are your goals for yourself in your new role?
I am hoping to continue the success that we have seen with D’Amico Catering’s pastry program over the years, while also introducing a few modern techniques, new flavor profiles and my own flare.
What do you enjoy most about your industry?
I got into this field because I wanted to do something creative and I still feel that way today. There can be long and demanding hours but we’re always developing new dishes and learning new techniques that keep this job fun and engaging.
What is your favorite pastry to make/eat?
My favorite pastry to eat is anything tart with a burst of flavor like Meyer lemons, key lime and rhubarb. Also doughnuts, all of the doughnuts! My favorite pastry to make is pie. It’s so basic, comforting, delicious and beautiful all at the same time.