6 Great Pastry Chefs Not to Miss at Sips and Sweets

Amy Scattergood

In case you haven’t noticed the tinsel and silver balls for sale at your local drugstore, or the carols already on repeat at every big retail shop, the holidays are upon us. But there is no need to panic — thanks to us.

LA Weekly’s first-ever Sips and Sweets event, being held Dec. 7 at the Majestic and the Reserve downtown, is about to make your holiday season a lot easier. If you’ve ever had to miss out on a holiday party in order to finish your shopping, this time you won’t. Because we have combined the ultimate trifecta of holiday inclinations — booze, sweets and shopping — into one epic party.

If you have a sweet tooth, this event is a must. All of L.A.’s best and most talented pastry chefs and bakers will be in attendance. And for a city whose population is stereotypically health-conscious, carb- and gluten-free, we sure do have a lot them. So many that several have published cookbooks in recent years, received James Beard Award nominations and, most important, kept Los Angeles a happier and sweeter place to live. Here are six reasons why you won't want to miss the merriment on Dec. 7.

Pastries at Huckleberry
Pastries at Huckleberry
Nichole O'Connor

6. Zoe Nathan of Huckleberry
The Santa Monica native restaurateur is quickly becoming a household name with her empire of beloved Westside establishments. Zoe Nathan owns Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Milo & Olive and ice cream shop Sweet Rose Creamery with her husband, Josh Loeb. Though Nathan will be attending Sips and Sweets as the esteemed pastry chef she is, her talents extend far beyond desserts. The experienced savory and pastry chef has recently added cookbook author to her repertoire. And the only thing better than a box of cookies for Christmas is a book explaining how to make them yourself.

5. Christina Olufson of Lucques, A.O.C. and Tavern
Suzanne Goin's longtime pastry genius, Christina Olufson, is a very busy woman. Creating desserts for all of the Lucques Group establishments means she's in charge of sweets for six different businesses, including massive catering events. So having her talent and treats at the Sips and Sweets event seems like a real Christmas miracle. Olufson doesn't want to give too much away about what she'll be bringing, but you can expect to see a spread of her favorite desserts from all three restaurants (which seems like an impossible decision considering her vast repertoire). A.O.C.'s famous butterscotch pot de crème, her perfect panna cotta, white wine–poached pears and pomegranate gelée, eggnog macaroons and an assortment of holiday cookies are all, on their own, reason enough to attend Sips and Sweets. Her sweet creations also can be found in Suzanne Goin's most recent hardcover (and popular Christmas present), The A.O.C. Cookbook.

4. Annie Miler of Clementine
There is no question that you'll be going back for seconds and thirds of the bountiful assortment of holiday cookies being served by pastry chef Annie Miler. It is not uncommon for Miler's Clementine to be completely packed. Thankfully, you'll be able to go back for fourths and fifths after the event is over, as the L.A. favorite sells the cookies at both of its locations, in Century City and Beverly Hills.

Nickel Diner donut
Nickel Diner donut
Anne Fishbein

3. Monica May of Nickel Diner
These might be the best donuts you'll ever eat. Monica May of downtown L.A.'s treasured Nickel Diner is getting ready to turn some heads, enlighten some taste buds and get a few people drunk on Dec. 7. In case you didn't know, Nov. 8 was National Harvey Wallbanger Day and May was well aware of this. Inspired by the vintage cocktail of vodka, anise-based liqueur Galliano and orange, she had the brilliant idea of incorporating it into the thing she does best: donuts. "They'll get you hammered," she warns after explaining the most mouthwatering donut concoction yet. "Brioche dough filled with a spiked orange curd laced with vodka and a Galiano glaze." And if that isn't enough to lure you to Sips and Sweets next month, May plans to bring a variety of other donuts, including her beer and peanut donuts; Guinness-glazed with toasted peanuts on the outside, naturally. Bacon donuts, because, she says, "they go well with bourbon." Plus apple fritters with bourbon glaze. This one certainly sounds like a win-win.

2. Ann Kirk of Little Dom's 
If you've ever wondered whose imagination and talent is behind the third course at L.A.'s best prix fixe dinner deal — Monday night suppers at Little Dom's — it's pastry chef Ann Kirk. Her thoughtful creations are always comforting and season-appropriate. So it came as no surprise when she announced that she will be serving a "holiday sundae" for our Sips and Sweets event. The holidays are all about tradition, comfort food and flavors that remind you of childhood. A peppermint candy sundae with house-spun melted chocolate stracciatella ice cream, dark Valrhona chocolate chips and hot fudge, garnished with candy cane dust, could not be more spot-on.

Tres leches cakes from Heirloom L.A.
Tres leches cakes from Heirloom L.A.
Max Wanger/Heirloom L.A. Facebook

1. David Rodriguez of Heirloom L.A.
Heirloom L.A.'s David Rodriguez knows how to get in the holiday spirit. The acclaimed sweets maker will be showing off his skills at Sips and Sweets with the most charming holiday dessert of all; edible snowmen (and -women). The adorable desserts will be made of pâte à choux with croquant as the body, "sprayed" white. The heads will be made of financier balls, topped with Swiss meringue hats, red fondant scarves and buttons, eyes and nose of black Icing.

Sips & Sweets will take place on Sunday, Dec. 7, from 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 for those over 21 and $20 for those under 21. This includes unlimited food and eight sample cocktails (there will be non-boozy drinks, too), plus access to shopping. Click here to get tickets.

Follow the author at her blog Three More Big Bites. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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