Dessert Professional: James Distefano

What would an event be without dessert? All those galas, receptions, dinners, and breakfasts contribute to a unique and unforgettable event experience, and dessert is no exception. Someone that knows all about creating indulgent desserts that leave a lasting impression is James Distefano, the Master Pastry Chef of CxRA. Born in Northvale, New Jersey, Distefano has always had a passion for food that was first inspired by his mother and two Italian grandmothers.  Since joining the team a little over a year ago, Distefano has been dedicated to making high-end creations that represent what CxRA is all about, because after all perfect is possible.

Before joining the CxRA team, Distefano spent a great deal of time gaining a wealth of experience in the food industry.  He worked in the restaurant business for over twenty years at renowned establishments such as Park Avenue Café, David Burke & Donatella, and Rouge Tomate.  He was also a part of the Baking and Pastry Faculty as a Chef Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education for two years. When CxRA shifted gears to create all of their desserts in-house, James joined the CxRA family as the Master Pastry Chef to build and develop a delicious menus. Distefano runs his operations with an astounding level of efficiency. As orders come in, he pinpoints exactly what materials are needed as well as when different stages of prepping must commence.  There is great care taken in the selection of the quality and quantity of ingredients.  He emphasizes the importance of clear, concise communication and having an organized and streamlined process.  Even though this is his first job in the realm of catering, Distefano loves the challenge of producing desserts for large parties on a regular basis and he executes such tasks with elegance and ease.

Distefano recognizes the many freedoms and opportunities that come hand in hand with working at CxRA. One primarily privilege is the opportunity to collaborate with other chefs, which Distefano sees as a positive experience where varying styles can meld together and create something special and unique. Another is that he has full creative rights on an intriguing variety of events; his favorite being a Morgan Library event that was dedicated to the work of artist Wayne Theibaud who is known for his paintings of desserts and regular household items. Distefano not only created delicious desserts but also brought Theibaud’s work to life for all guests to admire.

CxRA has been overjoyed to have James Distefano as a valued member of the community and we look forward to seeing what he whips up next.

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