Michael Laiskonis Is Coming to L2O. Who Is He?

Michael Laiskonis at a 2012 Common Threads event at Nellcôte.
Michael Laiskonis at a 2012 Common Threads event at Nellcôte. Photo: Galdones Photography

So did Lettuce Entertain You have “Vacuum Up All The Star Pastry Chefs In the World” on their “Things to Do in 2013” list? Because in the last couple of days, they hired Amanda Rockman away from The Bristol and Balena, and now (according to 312 Dining Diva) they’ve hired Michael Laiskonis, longtime (though not current) pastry chef of Le Bernardin, to work at L2O. So that’s the first answer to the question, who is Michael Laiskonis? He was the pastry chef at Le Bernardin under Eric Ripert for eight years, where he won Outstanding Pastry Chef at the James Beard Awards in 2007, he wrote a really terrific essay about leaving that job for The Atlantic a year ago, he’s cooked in Chicago at at least one high-profile event, and most recently, so far as we can tell, he was at the Institute for Culinary Education, a culinary school in New York.

And now he’s coming to L2O, which has been a significant post for pastry chefs (Rockman, Stephanie Prida, Leigh Omilinsky) but most recently hasn’t had one under chef Matt Kirkley… and still managed to deliver one of the more impressive rounds of dessert courses we’ve had lately. But L2O is serious about reclaiming the third Michelin star it once shared with Alinea and nobody else among Chicago restaurants, and it appears that bringing in an undeniable star— and freeing up Kirkley to focus on the courses before dessert— is now part of that plan. Whatever else, given the writerly bents of both Laiskonis and Kirkley, it should make for three-star chefblogging.