CHEF AYA FUKAI
EVENTS: IDE ALL-STAR CULINARY BASH
EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION: Boston University, trained under Jiho Kim at L'Espalier (Boston)
BACKGROUND: Menton, L'Espalier (Boston), Ria Restaurant at Elysian Hotel, 16 Restaurant at Trump Hotel (Chicago)
CURRENTLY: Maple & Ash (Chicago)
WHY SHE IS AMAZING: Fukai relocated to Chicago in 2011 to accept the position as the Executive Pastry Chef at the Elysian hotel, where she created the pastry program for the hotel's two Michelin-starred restaurant, Ria. Soon after her departure from the Elysian hotel, Fukai was appointed as the Executive Pastry Chef at Chicago’s Trump Hotel. Her responsibilities extended to the hotel's multiple outlets, including the two Michelin-starred restaurant; 16. Fukai currently works at Maple & Ash as their Pastry Chef to create plated desserts full of whimsy. Fukai’s many notable career achievements include her award for Eater National's 2016 Best Pastry Chef of the Year, her nominations in 2015 and 2016 for Jean Banchet’s Rising Pastry Chef Award, 2012 Star Chef’s Pastry Finalist and 2017 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Pastry Chef Semifinalist.
LAST NIGHT ON EARTH SHE’S EATING: Wherever her mother is so she can cook for her