Age: 31 Home Town: Pacific Palisades, CA Favorite Ingredient: Fruit Signature Dish: Chocolate and peanut butter truffle cake, salted caramel ice cream, roasted peanut toffee Mentor: Claudia Fleming
Focused on a cooking career at an early age, Karen Hatfield enrolled at the Los Angeles Culinary Institute almost right out of high school and discovered pastry was her calling. By 20, she was developing recipes for a food consulting company in Los Angeles and was headed for the life of a food stylist, but landing a pastry job at Wolfgang Puck’s high-profile Spago changed her life. Not only did she discover that she loved the energy of restaurant pastry, but she also met her husband-to-be, Quinn Hatfield. To expand their horizons and hone their skills, the duo moved to New York where Karen worked with Claudia Fleming at Gramercy Tavern and with Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Mercer Kitchen, which evolved into a corporate pastry position that had her creating desserts for JoJo, Vong and Vong Hong Kong as well. Next, Karen and Quinn’s celebrated run at Cortez in San Francisco brought them back to the west coast and a step closer to their long-term goal of opening a restaurant in Los Angeles. Now at Hatfield’s, their Beverly Boulevard jewel box, Karen creates sophisticated, approachable dishes inspired by the seasons, making the most of roasted fruits, caramel and chocolates. Her market desserts (warm plum and brown butter cake with roasted plums and lemon basil ice cream) and her chocolate peanut butter cake have taken on star status. We think she has, too.