Named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in North America 2017 by Dessert Professional Magazine, James Gallo grew up in a large family in New Jersey. Somewhere along the line he started cooking in the kitchen with his mother. In high school he started working in restaurants which led to the idea of culinary school. He attended the Academy of CulinaryArts outside of Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was there that his love and passion for Pastry Arts was found.
He began at the Taj Mahal Casino Hotel, in Atlantic City. From there he held a few positions, including ones at the Hilton of Short Hills in New Jersey, The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia and the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver, Colorado.
Chef Gallo’s approach to pastry is simple: take the classics and make them new, putting a new twist on them. “People like comfort food. It’s how we create these favored items that makes it different. There is a constant cycle of the classics coming back around and being reinvented,” says Gallo. Keeping up with the current trends and new techniques, having fun, and constantly moving forward is what “keeps the passion alive.”
Currently at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta in Georgia, James oversees the pastry operations as well as his new hobby, the hotel’s rooftop beehives, which yield Blue Dome Honey. Bringing back memories from his childhood, when he would help his brother Christopher with his beehives. “It is a fascinating world inside a beehive. How they function and operate is amazing. Plus tasting honey that is fresh and knowing you hand a hand in creating it is surreal,” says Gallo. James is also on the pastry support team for Hyatt. He and three others created a private label chocolate for Hyatt Hotels in America. Which lends to James’ favorite medium being chocolate.
During his 25 plus year career, he has competed in numerous competitions and presented many demonstrations, including being commissioned for sugar showpieces for an art gallery in Colorado. Also, he has been a judge for multiple competitions including the Chocolatier category of Pastry Live in Atlanta.