Michael Laiskonis joined ICE in 2012 fresh off of an eight-year tenure as executive pastry chef at Le Bernardin. He has long been one of the industry's most creative and talented chefs, noted for helping Le Bernardin earn four stars from The New York Times and three Michelin stars. Laiskonis was also named among America's Top Ten Pastry Chefs by Pastry Art & Design in 2002 and 2003, and was Bon Appétit's Pastry Chef of the Year in 2004. Best known for his use of modern techniques to reinvent classic desserts, he was presented with the coveted James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2007. Chef Laiskonis received the IACP's 2014 Culinary Professional of the Year Award, one of the most distinguished honors in the culinary field.
While Chef Laiskonis is best known as a pastry chef, he spent nearly half of his career on the savory side of the kitchen. He has also found great success outside the kitchen, as an active writer for publications including Gourmet, Saveur and The Atlantic, and has appeared on television shows such as "Top Chef: Just Desserts"
Because there are so many great chocolates and chocolate makers out there, declaring an absolute favorite would be impossible. But two things I do consider are flavor and social responsibility. Beyond Good nails them both, first by sourcing high-quality single origin cacao beans in Madagascar, and then making the chocolate at origin, which creates more value for the farmers and the local economy. I especially like gifting the Madagascar Chocolate and Vanilla Baking Kit with people to show how varied the flavors in chocolate can be, from fruity Madagascar cacao to nutty, caramel notes found in beans from Uganda.3 November 2021