Chef Biography

Chaya Conrad was born in 1972, and raised in upstate New York in the shadows of the Culinary Institute. Her mother would host Saturday night dinners for CIA students which sparked Chaya’s interest in the culinary arts.  After moving to Vermont, she lied about her age (14) and got her first job at a local bakery.  She also enrolled in a two-year professional food service program.  At 18 she enrolled in the CIA and did her externship at Arnaud’s Restaurant in New Orleans.  Following graduation, she accepted a position as sous chef at a country club in the Hudson Valley. A year later, she returned to Arnaud’s in New Orleans, this time as their pastry chef.  Three years later at age 23, she left Arnaud’s to open her own wholesale pastry business, Half Baked Productions.

After checking that off her bucket list, she did a brief stint as manager of Bravo’s ! Italian Kitchen commissary bakery in Columbus, Ohio before moving back again to New Orleans to become the pastry chef at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse under Great Chef James Leeming.  In 1999, at age 28, the television crew of Great Chefs showed up at Dickie Brennan’s to tape Pastry Chef Chaya preparing Bananas Foster Bread Pudding and French Silk Chocolate Pie for their Great Chefs of America series for the Discovery Channel.

Several years later, Chef Conrad was hired by the Rouses Grocery Chain in Louisiana to run their bakery operations, where she remains today in 2016.


Sweet Potato Cheesecakes

Serving: 6 Print Sweet Potato Cheesecakes By Great Chefs October 5, 2015 This dessert, with its sweet potato color, just looks like fall. Chef Conrad enhances that appearance by garnishing the plates with leaf-shaped tuiles. Sugar-in-the-raw, a large-crystal form of unrefined sugar, is caramelized on the tops of the cheesecakes. Brown sugar may be substituted. […]

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding

Serving: Makes eighteen 3-1/2-inch squares Print Bananas Foster Bread Pudding By Great Chefs October 4, 2015 Bread pudding is a New Orleans tradition. It is soaked with rum or whiskey and served with a sauce. Raisins are either mixed into the pudding or into the sauce. At Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse, the dish incorporates bananas. This […]

French Silk Chocolate Pie

Serving: 6 to 8 Print French Silk Chocolate Pie By Great Chefs September 28, 2015 This lovely, dense chocolate pie in an almond-graham cracker crust is served with Amaretto whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Be aware that the egg yolks are not cooked; use certified eggs for the recipe. Ingredients Crust Graham Cracker Crumbs – […]

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