The Untold Truth Of Sherry Yard

To say that Sherry Yard has made a name for herself in the baking industry would be an understatement. The celebrity chef has won multiple James Beard Awards, including Outstanding Pastry Chef of the Year in 2002 and the Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America award in 2014 (via TV Over Mind). She has been a contestant on Food Network's "Cutthroat Kitchen" and a judge on several cooking shows on various networks, including Food Network's "Christmas Cookie Challenge" and ABC's "Great American Baking Show." If all this wasn't enough, the chef also authored two cookbooks, "The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts," and "Desserts by the Yard: From Brooklyn to Beverly Hills."

Yard began cooking at a very young age, shaped by a very influential family member, who she deems responsible for her discovery of flavor. After attending a Catholic school until the age of 18, the soon-to-be chef applied to nursing school but turned down the offer following the advice of her mother, per TV Over Mind. The figure ended up eventually finding her way to The Culinary Institute of America and has since taken her career from one surprising fast food restaurant to preparing sweets for celebrities at a huge award show.

Sherry Yard started cooking thanks to her grandmother

In an interview with Kitchen Chat, Sherry Yard explained that when she was growing up in Brooklyn, New York, her grandmother was a turndown maid at the Waldorf Astoria. Thanks to her grandmother's affinity for hospitality, the future chef's early life was influenced by food and service. Her grandmother even served tea on formal Czechoslovakian china to make the simple occasion of eating a meal special.

"My grandmother taught me how to taste," Yard said, crediting her grandmother for her discovery of flavor through a rather unique technique. "Grandma would blindfold us and go to the A&P and buy all the different sodas," Yard continued. "She had strawberry soda, cream soda, chocolate soda ... and then she would have us taste. And it was the first time I realized that ... things actually had different flavors." This unique tasting method made a major impact on the future chef and helped kindle the love of food in Yard.

"That kind of spirit of entertaining, sharing, giving back, just started to permeate my existence, it was who I am to this day," Yard said.

Sherry Yard started her career at McDonald's

In an interview with Kitchen Chat, Sherry Yard revealed that one of her first cooking jobs was at McDonald's. She praised the experience of working there, recommending such employment to other young people looking to get into the cooking and baking industries.

"I'm a proud McDonald's alumni," she said. "We love McDonald's. I really do. I think it's a wonderful place for us to grow up and have a great job and start off and figure out your sense of urgency. [There are] so many systems that I still use in the kitchen today ... because I learned them on those 15-minute little videotapes [used] for training. Training, training, training is so important."

Yard has certainly come a long way since starting her career at the fast food establishment. She has since worked in restaurants such as New York City's Rainbow Room, Montrachet, and Tribeca Grill, in addition to San Francisco's Taj Campton Place, and Wolfgang Puck's Spago, CUT, and Chinois in Los Angeles as a pastry chef before moving on to her next projects (via Star Chefs). 

Sherry Yard helps run a cinema company

Sherry Yard served as COO and a consultant of iPic Entertainment, a business centered around providing upscale, in-cinema dining experiences for movie-goers (via TV Over Mind). She worked in the company's restaurant division, creating innovative cuisine that changed the way movie-goers think about movie theater food. Servers can be summoned with the touch of a button for guests to order what iPic calls "dine in the dark" dishes. "The challenge is no knife and fork, no noise, and, most important, not too smelly!" Yard said in an interview with Forbes.

In addition to theaters, iPic locations contain specialty restaurants alongside cinema spaces that the star chef oversaw. When the concept was first introduced, these restaurants included Tuck Room Tavern in Los Angeles, City Perch in Bethesda, Maryland, and two Tuck Room venues in both Houston and Miami, per Restaurant Hospitality. Today, the chain includes 15 locations, according to iPic. Each restaurant's menu derives from local food influences; for example, Tuck Room Tavern features American-style fare with dishes that might include roasted chicken with farro salad, and, of course, some of Yard's baked goods, such as Black N' Blue Pot Pie. While she stepped down from the position in 2019, she made an incredible impact on the business.

Sherry Yard helped Wolfgang Puck make desserts for the Oscars

In 2012, Wolfgang Puck called upon Yard to help him plan and execute the menu for the Governor's Ball, which takes place following the Oscars, per CBS. Puck collaborated with Yard, creating a sweets menu that included gold-dusted mini chocolate replicas of the Oscar award, which were served on a platter featuring a similar life-size Oscar.

Yard spoke about the experience of creating these sweet treats for the Oscars in her interview with Kitchen Chat. She said the team would prepare 6,000 mini replicas, which required 600 pounds of chocolate to make. The chef was also tasked with creating 100 larger, life-size chocolate Oscars. She also reminisced about desserts she created in other years for the Oscars, including bento boxes, a light-up replica of a camera, and a red carpet staircase that led to a 3-D plaquette of an Oscar. "It was just fun creatively," Yard said.

Sherry Yard encourages almost everyone to audition for Great American Baking Show

According to Kitchen Chat, Sherry Yard serves as a judge on ABC's "Great American Baking Show," and when it comes to booking talent, she welcomes all aspiring bakers to audition for the show, with one caveat and an important piece of advice.

"First and foremost, learn how to bake," she said in the interview with Kitchen Chat. "We love to say 'fake it til you make it' ... but when it comes to TV, the camera don't lie. So, you have to come with your A-game. When you're ready [and] it's your time, then really prepare yourself, because you don't want to go to lose, you want to go to win."

The chef loves judging the show, partially because she gets to try all the desserts the bakers prepare. "I love food ... If they had to make two items, I actually was eating both," Yard said. "It's a professional job. Someone has to do it!" she said (via Distractify).