Best of Boston

2003 BEST Pastry Chef

Alex Stupak, Clio

After several luxurious courses of chef Ken Oringer’s French cooking, concluding with dessert might seem excessive. But when the desserts are as delicious as those made by pastry chef Alex Stupak, a little excess is in order. Despite his propensity toward flavored foams, Stupak’s timbale of milk-chocolate with raspberry, tarragon, and tamarind ice cream is, in a word, ethereal. So are his Tahitian vanilla bean crème brûlée and lollipops made from sassafras, chicory, and sea salt-spiked chocolate, True and intense (yet not overwhelming) flavors marry with textures that bend the rules of sensibility by being simultaneously crisp and puffy, like the microthin layers of the rich chocolate and hazelnut petits fours. Such finesse is what makes this 23-year-old pastry chef a talent to keep an eye on—and his desserts an indulgence to seek out.

The Eliot Hotel, 370 Commonwealth Ave. Boston 617-536-7200 cliorestaurant.com/