After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Katherine Clapner started her pastry career at Sam's Cafe in Dallas, Texas, which led to later stints under chefs Charlie Trotter and Kevin Graham. From Dallas, she landed jobs in New Orleans, Venice, and London.
Her return to the kitchen took her to Mansion at Judges Hill, Ranch 616, and Liberty Tavern and Finn and Porter at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Clapner then took on the pastry chef role at Stephan Pyles eponymous restaurant, where her sense of adventure and whimsical desserts earned her a 2007 StarChefs.com Dallas Rising Stars Pastry Chef Award.
Her latest venture is Dude, Sweet Chocolate an artisanal chocolate and dessert boutique in Dallas's Oak Cliff Neighborhood.
A master at her craft, Clapner takes extra pains to experiment with fine ingredients not typically associated with chocolate, such as curry, tobacco, and olive oil. Free-spirited with a punk rock fashion sense, Clapner's creations prove it is that there's a fine line between creativity and madness. "I don't like chocolate bunnies, and I don't like candy hearts. I like chocolate skulls."
Recognized in Wusthof's "Defining the Edge" campaign, Clapner says,"To me, defining the Edge is all about defying definitions and educating with passion. That's what it's about, changing perceptions and turning people on to things that they wouldn't normally buy or taste. We always tell people to try something that sounds unusual or something that they've never heard of before because the end result is not nearly as weird as what it says on the label. It's there for a reason. The more people learn about other cultural cuisines and about how other ingredients are paired, the better it is for all chefs."
Learn more about Wusthof's Defining the Edge campaign