CAMP Chicago April Power Hour with Pastry Chef & former Top Chef Contestant Malika Ameen
We are thrilled to announce that former “Top Chef” Contestant Malika Ameen will be our featured guest at CAMP Chicago’s monthly Power Hour on Tuesday, April 26th, 2011. As you know, CAMP Chicago hosts monthly networking events called Power Hours to spotlight some of our community’s most talented, inspiring, and influential individuals. Malika Ameen is the first Chef to be invited and we are extremely delighted that she has accepted our request.
Chef Ameen will speak about her path to culinary nirvana – from her training at the French Culinary Institute to satisfying the sweet tooth of Hollywood’s hottest stars as executive pastry chef at Chateau Marmont to opening the critically acclaimed Aigre Doux. She most recently competed in Bravo’s “Top Chef Desserts” and has launched a highly successful new venture – made to order Couture Cookies byMdesserts. (I’ve tried all of them, you will not be disappointed).For those of you who are foodies, inspiring culinary artists or possess a wicked sweet tooth, you cannot miss this opportunity to network and meet Malika!
When: Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 @ 6:30pm
Where: Pompei 17 W. 744 22nd Street, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
Registration: $5 at the door
MALIKA AMEEN’s Bio:
Malika Ameen's love for unique flavor combinations, fascination with spice and attention to detail began in a food-focused home where family dinners were prepared from scratch each day. Her mom cooked mostly Asian cuisine, but would tackle fine pastries and desserts from Julia Child's cookbook to fulfill the sweet tooth of her father. While her mother had a passion for methods and flavors, her dad was obsessed with the very best ingredients. Every evening, dinner was a time to share the day’s events and became a full family discussion about the meal and what could be improved upon. "I'll treasure those memories forever and hope to pass this family tradition on to my children," says Ameen.
Ameen's father was her biggest fan and the driving force behind her culinary dreams and aspirations. As a child they would spend their Saturdays on "ingredient excursions" starting at gourmet food stores, then to local produce shops and ending their trip at her favorite neighborhood French bakery. Sadly, he passed away in 2009. "It is his love and positive words that I carry with me every single day as I work toward my goals," says Ameen.
Ameen is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. She established her reputation early, working under three award-winning pastry chefs. She first performed her dessert-making magic at the Ritz-Carlton in Chicago, working under renowned pastry chef En Ming Hsu. When Ameen relocated to New York she continued her professional growth at the Cub Room, working under James Beard multi-year nominee Gina DePalma, then she became one of two associate pastry chefs at the celebrated Balthazar in Soho. Ameen was fortunate to have then spent a brief time at the award winning Craft, working under James Beard award-winning Karen DeMasco.
In 2002, Ameen moved to West Hollywood and became the executive pastry chef at Chateau Marmont. This legendary hotel had once been considered the "home away from home" to many of Hollywood's elite. Los Angeles Times restaurant critic S. Irene Vibilia had rave reviews for Ameen’s desserts and described her as a "talent to watch.", And, Angeleno Magazine (sister publication to Chicago’s CS Magazine) voted Ameen "Best Pastry Chef".
Vibrant and focused, Ameen moved back to Chicago to be closer to her family and opened the River North restaurant, Aigre Doux. Quickly, Aigre Doux became a favorite on the city’s dynamic restaurant scene. Phil Vettel, Chicago Tribune restaurant critic, described Aigre Doux as, "seriously delicious and satisfying on an intellectual level" and gave it 3 stars, an "excellent" rating. Soon after, Bon Appetit put Aigre Doux on their “10 Best New Restaurants List", Food & Wine included them in "100 Tastes to Try" and Conde Nast Traveler put Aigre Doux on the their "Hot Tables List".
With the closing of Aigre Doux in 2009, Ameen began creating custom order desserts and started consulting with restaurants. As a consultant, she creates dessert menus that compliment a restaurant's cuisine. In 2010, with a stellar culinary reputation, she was selected to be a contestant on Bravo's new series, Top Chef: Just Desserts. Her drive, enthusiasm and creative spirit lead to her creation of byMdesserts which offers her decadent and indulgent, made to order Couture Cookies. As a fine dining pastry chef, byMdeserts allows her to share her passion for indulgent desserts, introduce people to the complementary aspect of spice and take their pallet on a journey of unique flavor combinations. While her consulting business keeps her involved in the restaurant environment, she plans on expanding her byMdesserts selections in 2011.