DMC Alumnus and International Pastry Chef Demonstrates Chocolate Artistry for Culinary Arts Students
Article by: Melinda Eddleman
His inspiration to become a pastry chef came from watching ‘Great Chefs’ on the Discovery Channel. Dessert Professional Magazine named him among the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America in 2016. And, his competitive spirit has taken him to international contests, including serving as an assistant to help the USA Pastry Team during the January 2017 competition at the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon, France.
His next adventure … competing on the Food Network’s fouir-episode ‘Holiday Wars’ that will air every Sunday beginning Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. (CST).
Chef Robert Nieto, who earned a certificate in baking and pastry from the Del Mar College (DMC) Culinary Arts program in 2000, returned on Nov. 8 to the College’s West Campus to demonstrate for about 25 current DMC Culinary Arts students the combination of art, engineering and culinary skills to create a showpiece made from that delectable ingredient most everyone loves––CHOCOLATE!
The baking and pastry kitchen in the Restaurant Management Building was filled with a heavenly smell as Chef Nieto showed students the culinary manipulation of chocolate and other ingredients to create an edible masterpiece.
A Texas native nicknamed “Buttercup,” Chef Nieto first began as a line cook at the Corpus Christi Country Cub and absorbed as much as he could about the fundamentals of creating desserts from their head pastry chef t. He earned his associate’s degree from Santa Rosa Junior College in California after completing an intensive pastry training course in Las Vegas, Nv., where he worked at several five-star hotels such as the Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas and the Venetian as a pastry cook and pastry sous chef.
Before moving further west, he was hired at world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Las Vegas and later asked to move to Napa Valley as the pastry chef of Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. He finally landed in California’s Sonoma County at the Michelin-starred Madrona Manor as their pastry chef in 2010 and then with the Kendall-Jackson team with Jackson Family Wines in 2012, where he is executive pastry chef and pairs his sweet creations with the wines the company produces.
Over the course of his career, Chef Nieto has competed in a myriad of pastry competitions ranging from trying out for the Bread Bakers Guild of America to competing in Viennoiserie and Artistic Design; Pastry Live in the Chocolate Bon Bons, Plated Dessert and Championship Showpiece categories and the Valrhona Chocolate Chef Competition.
He has also competed on Food Network’s ‘Beat Bobby Flay.’
Earlier this year, Chef Nieto launched his own chocolate company, Fleur Sauvage Chocolates (Fleur Sauvage means “wild flower” in French), where he makes custom chocolates for local wineries using seasonal ingredients. Fleur Sauvage Chocolates also sells at Sonoma County farmers markets, festivals and special events. Visit Chef Nieto’s website at: www.fleursauvagechocolates.com/.
If creating culinary masterworks is your passion, check out Del Mar College’s Culinary Arts program by visiting www.delmar.edu/degrees/culinary-hospitality/index.html.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.