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Michael Laiskonis excels in revitalizing classic desserts by experimenting with contrasting textures, temperatures, and unexpected ingredients in a quest for new flavor sensations. When he was young, Laiskonis was always interested in both science and art; contemporary desserts are a blend of both and, to his mind, they also have an architectural appeal.

A native of Michigan, Laiskonis initially trained in visual arts at Wayne State University and, without a formal culinary degree, started baking professionally while a college student working in a friend’s bakery. While there, he logged 16 hours a day turning out all their breads, cakes, pastries and savories. He moved on to serve as Pastry Chef and Sous Chef under Rick Halberg at Emily’s in Northville, Michigan, before going to work at the critically acclaimed Tribute in 1997. At Tribute he started as a line cook before assuming the role of Pastry Chef, a position he held for five years until coming to Le Bernardin in 2004. Laiskonis’ training and work experience – divided between the pastry and savory realms – is a primary influence in his culinary approach.

Now in New York at Le Bernardin, 33-year-old Laiskonis has found an ideal venue where he can express his interests in the arts, architecture and science through the alchemy of his innovative dessert-making. Executive Chef and Co-Owner Eric Ripert says of his Executive Pastry Chef, “Michael’s sensibilities perfectly complement the Le Bernardin style of light, inventive, elegant food.”

In addition to being named a Rising Star by, Laiskonis is the recipient of Bon Appétit magazine’s 2004 American Food & Entertaining Award and was twice named one of the “10 Best Pastry Chefs in America” (2002, 2003) by Pastry Art and Design. In 2005, he contributed to Le Bernardin’s four-star review by Frank Bruni in The New York Times.

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