Born and raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, Bobby Bennett was always passionate about cooking and had a sweet tooth to match. He experimented in his mother’s unused kitchen and when he was old enough to work, he began cooking in various restaurants in the area. Upon graduation from high school, he took a year off to raise money to go to a culinary school. Then he attended the New England Culinary Institute, spending all his extra time in the pastry department. He completed his second year of school before the end of his first year of enrollment, where he ended up at the top of his class. Julia Child then spoke at his graduation.
He had also apprenticed in several restaurants in Palm Beach, Florida, and New Orleans and after graduation, he stayed on at the Institute as Executive Pastry Instructor. During that time he was invited as guest pastry chef for President Reagan’s 2nd Inaugural. He and his staff created one gigantic cake, a replica of Capitol Hill that served 44,000 people. It was the hit of the inauguration.
After three semesters of teaching, he spent four months training pastry chefs at the Jumby Bay Resort in Antigua and following that, was immediately hired by Chef Georges Perrier as one of the four pastry chefs at Le Bec-Fin, where he quickly became executive pastry chef.
In 1989 in Lyon, France, Chef Bennett was selected to represent the USA in the premier World Cup Pastry Championship. They won 5th in the World. It allowed him to work with such Great Chefs as Michel Richard and Guy Savoy in Paris and provided him with some more ideas.
Great Chefs Television caught up with Chef Bennett at Le Bec-Fin in 1994 to tape him preparing several desserts from the famous Le Bec-Fin Dessert Cart, for their Great Chefs of the East series.
After Le Bec-Fin closed its doors in June of 2013, Chef Robert Bennett opened his own pastry shop called “Classic Cake” in the Short Hills Towne Center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, where he also conducts culinary classes