If you want to know a little bit about chef Sherry Yard, have a look at her two cookbooks, 2007’s Desserts By the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills and 2003’s The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts (which won both a James Beard award and Julia Child award). The volumes offer a glance at Yard’s journey from the simple foods of her childhood near Sheepshead Bay, New York, to the French patisserie–style sweets she created as executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck’s star-studded restaurant Spago for two decades, beginning in 1994. She’s the kind of cook who loves making her grandma’s A&P strawberry sodas and Italian zeppoli as much as she does a chocolate brioche sandwich with espresso gelato or a French croquembouche. And she received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2002.
When she wasn’t baking at Spago, Yard judged several Food Network series, among them Halloween Baking Championship, Cake Wars Christmas, Christmas Cookie Challenge, as well as competing on Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage. She’s also been a judge on Cooking Channel’s Sugar Showdown, and Bravo’s Top Chef: Just Desserts.
These days, Yard has tapped into her movie-loving side as chief operating officer of the restaurant division of iPic Entertainment, which owns 15 movie theaters around the country and features a more upscale movie-going experience with an in-cinema menu and in-house restaurant. At the Westwood cinema, the Tuck Room Tavern<www.thetuckroom.com> serves upscale pub food like K-Town short rib sliders (a nod to L.A.’s Koreatown).
Yard’s newest project is the renovation and rebirth of a bakery and restaurant in Culver City’s landmark Helms Bakery, a bread and sweets producer in the region from 1931 to 1971. The huge industrial space, known as the Helms Bakery District, has been rejuvenated and filled with design shops, with Yard’s restaurant set to open in late 2017.
Giving back is another Yard quality. She serves on the National Advisory Board for Careers Through Culinary Arts Program, which provides underserved youth with culinary arts education and employment opportunities in the foodservice industry.