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Cynthia Wong and her phatty cakes leave Atlanta

Last week during a casual working lunch at Empire State South, I mused aloud as to whether or not to indulge in a phatty cake for dessert. Wong's phatty cake—a fluffy, sweet mascarpone filling sandwiched by two subtle gingerbread cookies—has had a place in Atlanta's heart since she started making them at Cakes And Ale. Local diners followed her (and the phatty cakes) when she moved to the ESS kitchen about a year ago. During that lunch last week, the staff encouraged me to comply with my sweet tooth, as the phatties would be moving again—gone forever from Atlanta, probably—along with pastry chef and creator of the ginger-cookie-meets-mascarpone mash-up, Cynthia Wong.

Cynthia Wong’s Banana Pancakes

Cynthia Wong, pastry chef at Empire State South, stands behind the stainless steel gas range in her modern Grant Park kitchen, dropping dollops of batter into a sizzling skillet.

Q&A with Empire State South’s Cynthia Wong

ATL Food Chatter: June 21, 2011 (To receive the Chatter and other culinary tidbits directly in your inbox, sign up for our weekly dining newsletter)The recent hire of pastry chef Cynthia Wong boosts an already stellar team at Empire State South. The Mobile, AL native starts work there today. Wong was a 2010 James Beard finalist for her desserts at Decatur’s Cakes & Ale, where she bridged homey and sophisticated takes on sweets with an emphasis on seasonal fruits. She began her baking career in San Francisco, earned her culinary degree in France, worked at a bakery in Barcelona, and was production manager at still-missed Via Elisa. Wong fills us in on her move to ESS.

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