Ashley Torto serves as the Pastry Chef of the Waldorf AstoriaChicago, where she is responsible for all pastry operations throughout the 215-room luxury hotel, which includes the twoFrench-influenced restaurants—Margeaux Brasserie and Petit Margeaux from James Beard award-winning and Michelin Star ChefMichael Mina—in-room dining and banquets. By incorporating classic French flavors and dishes with new techniques and modern plating, Torto creates beautiful, perfectly balanced desserts that provide an extraordinary experience for hotel guests and visitors alike.
Prior to joining the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Torto served as the Assistant Pastry Chef at the neighboring Sofitel Water Tower Place hotel, an experience that gives her a well-rounded perspective on the tastes of the local clientele as well as the global travelers that frequent both properties. Most recently, she served as the PastryChef at The Dawson in West Town Chicago alongside then Chef deCuisine Brent Balika. There she created lighthearted and playful desserts based on American classics that paired well with the restaurant’s unique cocktail program. At the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, Balika and Torto have the opportunity to collaborate once again on their respective menus, which creates a seamless flow from the savory dishes to the sweet. Torto also creates pastries, confectionaries and baked goods for banquets and in-room dining.
After graduating from The French Pastry School Chicago in 2011, Torto worked at renowned Chicago restaurants such as The Boarding House, The Bristol, MK Restaurant and the University Club ofChicago. “Being a pastry chef gives me the opportunity to make people feel special,” says Torto, who graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology in 2006 but decided a desk job wasn’t for her.“There’s nothing like seeing someone’s eye light up when they are peeking in the pastry case at Petit Margeaux or being presented a plated dessert in Margeaux’s dining room.”