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Susan Bae: Bright Star of the D.C. Pastry Scene and James Beard Award Nominee

Susan Bae is the Executive Pastry Chef and founding member of Moon Rabbit restaurant in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Bae is a 2024 James Beard Foundation Semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef. Before coming to Moon Rabbit, Bae worked as Pastry Chef at the Fairmont Hotel in Austin, Texas, and the Michelin-starred Kali in Los Angeles, among other restaurants. Chef Bae draws inspiration from nature, and uses it as a reference point in her desserts. She adores herbs, often employing them to switch up standard pastry flavors.

Once an aspiring school teacher, Chef Bae likes to mentor, and believes it is important to make everyone’s voice heard. She feels that cooks are so important, and that things could not get done without them. It is her opinion that collaboration is key. In her words, “Pastry is not necessarily about the food; it’s about methodical science.”’

In this episode we discuss:

  • How she learned to bake by reading blogs
  • Changing course from teaching elementary school to working in a kitchen
  • Getting a formal culinary degree
  • Honing her skills at a succession of restaurants
  • Landing her dream job with Kevin Tien at Moon Rabbit
  • Her unique dessert menu and what inspired it
  • Being nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Susan’s kitchen tip and advice for pastry chef wannabes
  • And much more!
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