With icing on top

Pastry chef is designer of desserts

Name: Newton Pryce
Age: 40
Occupation: Executive Pastry Chef
Location: New York, New York
Duties: Creates desserts, supervises
  production of all pastries,
  manages the cost of supplies.
Salary range: $48,000 to $80,000

Newton Pryce remembers sneaking into the pantry back in Jamaica to sniff his uncle’s sacks of ingredients that were lined up against the wall to see if he could identify them. When the kitchen was vacant, he would try whipping up some of his uncle’s dishes on his own. “I admired him,” Pryce recalls. In fact, for as long as he can remember, Pryce was drawn to the kitchen and infatuated by his uncle the pastry chef. But Pryce’s sights were set on being an artist until he gave in to his father’s admonishments.

Pryce’s Path: After high school Pryce began working as a cook at a Couples Hotel in St. Mary, Jamaica. Soon after he enrolled in the College of Art, Science and Technology in Kingston, Jamaica, where he majored in international cafeteria management to obtain a certificate in international cuisine. It was a perfect arrangement because his new gig covered his tuition with only one requirement — “I had to commit to working for the hotel for a few years or pay them back.”

After only a few months Pryce was put in a sous-chef (chef’s assistant) training program. Later, he was one of the few people chosen to participate in an accelerated hotel management associate’s degree program taught by top chefs from England. “They crammed a four-year program into eight months,” he admits.

The Transition: With his degree and after 10 years at the Couples Hotel, Pryce moved to the U.S.

“I started working at Arizona 206 on 60th Street and 3rd Avenue [in New York City] about two months after I came to the U.S. Within a few months, they wanted to promote me to sous-chef,” he recalls. But Pryce would have been replacing the assistant chef who was already there. “I asked that they give the young lady a chance,” he says. She was eventually fired two years later and Pryce got the job. He then got promoted to pastry chef. He stayed at Arizona for four years before moving into catering.

“At Great Performances, I [catered a lot of big functions] for various firms such as Bloomberg and the Hackensack University Medical Center [in Hackensack, New Jersey]. We’d cater for from 10 to 40,000,” he describes. But later, Pryce returned to his true love — restaurants. Now he’s the executive chef at Uncle Crumm, a pastry eatery in Howard Beach, New York, while he moonlights as the supervising pastry chef at Ada, an upscale Indian restaurant located on east 58th street in New York City.

The Lesson: “Most pastry chefs are white, so it can be difficult getting jobs. Sometimes when I show up for the interview, I’m told I was never called,” Pryce laments, “or when I get the job, I find that they forget to invite me to management meetings and I wonder if they really forgot or if something else is up.” He has never allowed any adversity

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