Local Pastry Chef Headed to 'Top Chef: Just Desserts'

By Anne Reynolds
|  Friday, Jul 22, 2011  |  Updated 3:43 PM EDT
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CityZen pastry chef Matthew Petersen is a "chef'testant" on season two of Bravo's "Top Chef Just Desserts."

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Yet another local chef is putting D.C.'s restaurant scene in the national spotlight.

Executive Pastry Chef Matthew Petersen will be a contestant on season two of "Top Chef Just Desserts" on Bravo. Petersen is in charge of the desserts for CityZen and Sou'Wester, both of which are situated inside the Mandarin Oriental Hotel along Washington's Southwest Waterfront.

"Top Chef" launched its "Just Desserts" franchise last year, profiling pastry chefs and their tasty creations. Those desserts are historically a trouble spot on "Top Chef;" many accomplished chefs have been sent home because of their lack of prowess when it comes to sweet treats.

There was a Washingtonian among the chef'testants on season one of "Top Chef Just Desserts" -- but Heather Chittum, pastry chef for Georgetown's Hook and Tacklebox, was eliminated in week six.

DC chefs have also garnered attention in the original "Top Chef" franchise. Among its alumni still cooking in the D.C. area are: Spike Mendelsohn of Good Stuff Eatery and We the Pizza; Mike Isabella, who recently opened Graffiato in Chinatown; chef and caterer Carla Hall, and Brian Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick, Md.

Petersen will compete against 13 others when the show premieres Aug. 24. "I am thrilled to be a part of 'Top Chef Just Desserts' for season two," he said. "It was an amazing honor to be on the show and work with such talented chefs."

Before going to work for James Beard winner Eric Ziebold at CityZen, Petersen worked for the acclaimed Daniel Baloud in his New York City restaurants. A Johnson & Wales graduate, Petersen says he has a simple philosophy when it comes to dessert: Take the best ingredients, and do what you have to do to make them shine.

So be sure to save room for dessert.


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