Baking with Leslie Ann
- Chef's Corner
Prior to joining SROriginals in 2012, Leslie Ann Viets was the Executive Pastry Chef at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, Denver, Colorado. Viets was hired prior to the hotel opening and was instrumental in designing the pastry kitchen, as well as establishing and managing the hotel pastry operation for 5 years.
Her passion for art and design was inspired and nurtured by her Grandfather a whom taught at the Chicago Art Institute and was one of the original animators for Walt Disney; followed by tenures with Walter Lantz and Hanna- Barbera.
Inspired to combine her love of art with her passion for food, she enrolled in New England Culinary Institute in 1990 with the intent of becoming a Chef. During her first year at college, renowned Pastry Chef Jim Dodge approached Viets with the suggestion she seek out a career in Pastry Arts because she “Has the knack for it”.
With her new inspiration, she changed gears and dedicated her studies to Pastry Art’s and baking. She sought to work with noted award winning Pastry Chefs and Bakers such as: Pastry Chef Karen Barker, Stan Frankenthaller, Pastry Chef Rick Katz, famed confectioner Michael Rechuitti, and World Pastry Cup Champion Chris Hamner.
Prior to her tenure with the Ritz~ Carlton Hotels, Viets spent 8 years as Head Pastry Chef at Mobil 5 Star award winning Twin Farms in Barnard Vermont, followed by Executive Pastry Chef at Pebble Beach Resorts in California.
Viets was awarded Best Pastry Chef North East by the American Institute of Wine and Food and sculpted marzipan figurines for President Bill Clinton’s inaugural cake.
As a reoccurring guest Chef on Denver Channel 7, she did live television cooking segments and has been a featured Chef on numerous taped television cooking programs.
Aside from dreaming about all things food, Viets enjoys artistic design, music, meditation, Buddhism, any beach, expensive furniture and her cat Georgia Butterbean.
How long have you been at SRO? 6 ½ years
What made you want to become a chef? Since I was a young, I’ve always enjoyed creating and making things with my hands - and I still do. My love for art, design, food, and making people happy all rolled up into one perfect cheesy burrito for me.
What is your greatest source of inspiration? Flavor; always flavor with a big side of texture.
What is your most memorable experience in the kitchen? There are too many to name, but they all circle around the talented Chefs I’ve worked with whom generously shared their knowledge of technical execution and cooking with me. The passionate team kitchen dynamic of laughing and teasing each other while prepping and plating courses together are very dominate memories for me.
What ingredients will we always find in your kitchen? Salt. My first love is savory cooking, so my pantry and fridge is heavily stocked with condiments like: mustards, vinegars, spices, peppers, capers, pickled vegetables etc…
Do you have season favorites? I like bold ethnic flavors pronounced with spices, so I can’t say I have a season favorites. They are all too important and stand on their own depending on what I’m cooking.