NAME: Colleen Grapes
CULINARY SCHOOL AFFILIATION: Johnson & Wales University, Providence, RI
Currently an adjunct professor for New York University’s Steinhardt Food Lab, Chef Grapes has been in the restaurant world as a pastry chef for over 30 years. She started her training at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. While there, she worked for Al Forno restaurant which was when they received the James Beard award for best restaurant in the New England.
After graduations, she moved to New York City where she worked as the pastry chef at Aja, before moving on to Time Café where she oversaw the pastry program at all 3 of their restaurants. Eventually she moved on the Butter restaurant and then the Metropolitan Opera House. Wanting a more intimate dining experience, The Red Cat was the next step and then eventually to The Harrison where she worked for 8 years. Other restaurants where she worked were Oceana for a few years before taking the position of Corporate Pastry Chef for the McNally group (Augustine, Balthazar, Minetta Tavern, Morandi, Lucky Strike).
Chef Grapes also had the opportunity to work in Brooklyn where she oversaw the Dressler, DuMont and DuMont Burger. A friend who had a school program in Vietnam shared a teaching opportunity with her and after trying to get there for 5 years Chef Grapes made the leap and ended up in East Asia for 6 months where she taught everything from interview training to baking & cooking, as well as running the schools café called “9 Grains”, where the students worked. After returning to the United States, Chef Grapes took a position at a restaurant called Dirt Candy to help out a friend for a few months before taking the adjunct professor’s position at NYU.