Culinary Corner: An interview with Pastry Chef Jill Leckey of the Fearrington House Restaurant

It might be too early to play holiday music in the office, but all this talk of our Gingerbread Benefit has the entire TFS staff in the holiday spirit! By the way–did we mention that we’re reeeallly excited for the event? It’s only 30 days away! Many of the area’s top chefs are preparing to create tasty masterpieces to auction off at our event. Last week we introduced our “Culinary Corner” posts with an interview with Chef Daniel Benjamin of Herons Restaurant. This week, we’re honored to introduce pastry chef Jill Leckey of the Fearrington House Restaurant. Reading her interview, I can’t wait to see what her gingerbread house will look like!

Jill Leckey, Pastry Chef at the Fearrington House Restaurant

What or who inspired you to become a pastry chef? Who do you look up to in the field? I have always just loved being in the kitchen and creating delicious things. Jacques Torres was my first employer right out of pastry school. I still look up to him, and have great admiration for his amazing pastry and chocolate skills.

When you start a project do you have a vision or goal in mind, or do you figure it out as you go? I usually try to come up with a general idea of how I am going to accomplish the goal. Then I am open to let the idea evolve and change if need be.

What are your three favorite ingredients to work with?
Dark chocolate, star anise and scented geraniums

What will the inspiration for your gingerbread house be? I think that I am going to try and create a gingerbread house that has some sort of structural or design element that I have never attempted to create before. I love to challenge myself with things that I might not be able to do, but am willing to attempt.

The 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit is to be held on December 1, 2011 at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Tickets for the event are available online at

Buy now–before the event sells out!

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Filed under Gingerbread Benefit, Interns

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