Bill Yosses

  • Former White House Executive Pastry Chef
  • Founder, Kitchen Garden Laboratory
  • High Profile New York City Chef

William “Bill” Yosses is the founder of Kitchen Garden Laboratory and most recently served as the White House Executive Pastry Chef under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. With his insider’s perspective, he magically intertwines highly entertaining anecdotes about his time at the White House under two administrations — one Republican, one Democrat — with a discussion about how understanding the food we eat on a molecular and atomic level can help create a Food Literate America. Today, Yosses continues to serve as an official American “culinary diplomat” as part of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnerships. The program elevates the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts, both abroad and in the U.S.

 
  

Add to my speaker list
Bill Yosses headshot
Bill Yosses - Food Physics - TEDxManhattan - Get Sharable Link
Bill Yosses - Food Physics - TEDxManhattan
(>)
Now
Playing
Explore Bill Yosses's Talks
Expand all >

History in the Baking: Culinary Diplomacy

Culinary diplomacy is as old as diplomacy itself. From the days of Talleyrand and before, food and drink has been used at the highest levels of government as a powerful force to persuade and influence policymakers. Today is no different. With his bird’s eye view to history and as a member of t ...

Culinary diplomacy is as old as diplomacy itself. From the days of Talleyrand and before, food and drink has been used at the highest levels of government as a powerful force to persuade and influence policymakers. Today is no different. With his bird’s eye view to history and as a member of the U.S. State Department’s Culinary Diplomatic Corps, Bill shares his first-hand experiences, anecdotes and observations about the power of the party at the White House, Camp David and embassies in Washington, D.C. and around the world.

Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too: Creating a Food Literate America

Why should a dessert chef have a place in the conversation about healthier eating? Because Americans need both a rethink and a reboot about what a balanced approach to food really means. When you consider the extreme relationship many Americans have with food—unsuccessful crash diets on the ...

Why should a dessert chef have a place in the conversation about healthier eating? Because Americans need both a rethink and a reboot about what a balanced approach to food really means. When you consider the extreme relationship many Americans have with food — unsuccessful crash diets on the one hand and overeating that leads to obesity and diabetes on the other -— it’s clear that the reductionist approach that vilifies certain foods doesn’t work. In this talk, Bill illustrates the balanced relationship many other cultures have with eating and drinking (the French with baguettes and butter, the Italians with pasta, the Belgians with chocolate), presents a path forward for Americans and shows the audience it can be mindful of healthful eating yet not miss out on one of life’s great pleasures — dessert.

The Science of Cooking

In a science and technology-driven world that demands each of us be science literate, Bill, a pioneer of the “chef-scientist” movement, uses food as an important prism to understanding science and, conversely, science as a gateway to understanding food. Building on the groundbreaking ...

In a science and technology-driven world that demands each of us be science literate, Bill, a pioneer of the “chef-scientist” movement, uses food as an important prism to understanding science and, conversely, science as a gateway to understanding food. Building on the groundbreaking work of author Harold McGee, Bill takes the audience on a fascinating adventure into understanding food on the cellular, molecular and atomic level. Exploring scientific principles such as crystallization, surface tension, density and viscosity, he demonstrates how understanding the “science behind the food” actually helps chefs improve their own cooking.

The Progressive Culinary School: Chefs, Social Responsibility and Therapy for America’s Ailing Food System

The $20 billion Americans spend on processed foods in the first half of their lives is a counterpoint to the $20 billion they spend on healthcare at the end of their lives {to treat the diseases associated with such foods?—Bill can we say this?} What is wrong with this picture? Much of it ...

The $20 billion Americans spend on processed foods in the first half of their lives is a counterpoint to the $20 billion they spend on healthcare at the end of their lives {to treat the diseases associated with such foods? — Bill can we say this?} What is wrong with this picture? Much of it stems from a lack of understanding of where food comes from and why whole foods are a key component to good health. A key player in the Obama Administration’s “Let’s Move” initiative to reduce diabetes and promote health and wellness around eating, Bill is a proponent and stakeholder of “intelligent agriculture.” As a chef, he communicates through the palate and on the plate. Flavor, aroma and texture, all important to health, are the language chefs speak and that language is being confused by a weakened selection of ingredients. In this talk, Bill examines the food system — from modern agricultural methods that employ GMOs and fertilizers to the microbiology of soil and the need for biodiversity — and offers advice for a more naturally harmonious system of agriculture that can meet the challenge of feeding the planet’s projected nine billion people by 2050.

The White House State Dinner: Lessons in Soft Power

The term “soft power” is exemplified by the East Wing of the White House where elaborate State Dinners are conceived and executed by diverse, talented staff. The East Wing is nothing if not an exceptional example of the professional hospitality industry at its finest. Having worked fo ...

The term “soft power” is exemplified by the East Wing of the White House where elaborate State Dinners are conceived and executed by diverse, talented staff. The East Wing is nothing if not an exceptional example of the professional hospitality industry at its finest. Having worked for two First Ladies, five White House Social Secretaries and countless florists, caterers and sommeliers, Bill shares an insider’s view on the levers of soft power — planning, coordinating and implementing international dinner parties with some of the most important players in the world on the grandest of scales. 

Learn more about Bill Yosses
Follow   Twitter 
Tweets by Bill Yosses
(+)
Biography

William “Bill” Yosses is the founder of Kitchen Garden Laboratory and most recently served as the White House Executive Pastry Chef under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. 

During his White House tenure, Yosses made desserts for historic occasions, including the State Dinner for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness Prince Phillip The Duke of Edinburgh; a formal dinner in honor of French President Nicolas Sarkozy; as well as the birthday cake for Pope Benedict XVI’s 81st birthday celebration.  President Obama has referred to Yosses as the "Crust Master," and First Lady Michelle Obama has said Yosses makes "dangerously good" pie, which she manages to enjoy by eating well 90 percent of the time.

Inspired by Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to fight childhood obesity, in which he played an integral part, Yosses began to pioneer the concept of the “Chef-Scientist” to help people of all ages to understand the science behind healthy growing, eating and cooking.  The result?  Kitchen Garden Laboratory (KGL) – Yosses’ education and advocacy initiative designed to foster a food and agriculture literate America, while at the same time opening young people’s minds to the worlds of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  KGL operates school gardens and science and cooking programs in underserved communities in Portland, OR, and Northfield, MN, and is preparing to launch initiatives in Los Angeles and New York City.

Yosses, a chef for more than 30 years, is trained in classical French cooking.  Before joining the White House in 2007, Yosses assisted in the opening of Paul Newman's Dressing Room in Westport, Connecticut – a restaurant utilizing locally grown, artisanal and organic food sources. Other executive pastry chef experience in New York City includes Josephs Citarella; planning, designing and opening the pastry department of Bouley Restaurant and Bakery and operating the pastry department of the Tavern on the Green Restaurant.  Yosses was also Pastry Chef at Montrachet Restaurant in New York City.  He served apprenticeships in France, and also worked under Chefs Daniel Boulud and then Sous Chef Thomas Keller at Polo Restaurant in New York City.

Over the course of his culinary career, Yosses also has spent significant time teaching students from elementary school through graduate school, using gardening and cooking as a gateway to understanding STEM. While at the White House, Yosses conducted bi-weekly tours of the South Lawn vegetable garden for visiting school groups.  He is an active participant in "Spoons Across America," working as a chef-scientist to introduce good eating habits to fourth through eighth-grade children.  Most recently, Yosses was named director of Chop Chop Magazine’s Cooking Lab, an initiative to introduce hands-on cooking instruction and nutritional literacy to young people.  In addition, Yosses regularly lectures on science and cooking for STEM undergrads and graduate students at Harvard University, Georgia Tech, University of California, Los Angeles, New York University and the City University of New York. 

He has organized and delivered cooking and science presentations at the New York Times’ annual Travel Show’s “Taste of the World Kids Kitchen,” World Science Festival, American Association for the Advancement of Science, EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) and New York University’s Experimental Cuisine Collective.  In addition, he has served as a consultant to the American Museum of Natural History, helping organize and create showpieces for its "History of Chocolate" and "Global Kitchen" exhibits, and participated in a panel on “Flavor and Evolution.”

A part of the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Culinary Partnerships, Yosses is an official American “culinary diplomat.”  The program elevates the role of culinary engagement in America’s formal and public diplomacy efforts, both abroad and in the U.S.   

He has published two books: Desserts for Dummies (1997) and The Perfect Finish, Special Desserts for Every Occasion (2010).  He is currently at work on his third book, a collaboration with food critic and cookbook author Peter Kaminsky and NASA Kepler Institute scientist Steve Howell.

Yosses earned his A.A.S. at the New York City College of Technology in Hotel Management, a Master of Arts at Rutgers University in French Language and Literature and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toledo in French Language.

Yosses and his husband, Charlie Fabella, Jr., reside in New York City/