About Alice

My career started with a handwritten recipe for the tiny cocoa-dusted chocolate truffles given to me by my Paris landlady in 1973. The truffles had captivated me with their pure bittersweet flavor, and the recipe changed my life. I brought Madame Lestelle’s directions back to California and began making and selling bittersweet chocolate truffles—to immediate acclaim—at Pig-by-the-Tail Charcuterie in Berkeley’s “gourmet ghetto”. Happy accidents coupled with local tastes and predilections led to the development of a larger “American” chocolate truffle, a confectionary phenomenon that culminated with the opening of Cocolat, my own chocolate dessert shop, in 1976. Since those heady days (and the sale of Cocolat in 1989), I’ve created thousands of recipes (chocolate and otherwise) and written eight cookbooks, three of which are Cookbook of the Year–award winners. I’ve appeared on television with our beloved Julia Child, taught baking and dessert classes across the country, and consulted for both venerable chocolate companies and cutting-edge chocolate entrepreneurs. From that first chocolate truffle to today, I’ve continued to experiment with new ingredients and techniques. I’m still learning and evolving, and still having fun.

BIOGRAPHY

Author, pastry chef, and teacher, Alice Medrich is one of the country’s foremost experts on chocolate and chocolate desserts. Since 1976, when her renowned shop, Cocolat, opened and her first dessert feature (of many) appeared in a national publication, Alice’s innovative ideas and recipes and her insistence on quality ingredients have influenced a generation of confectioners, pastry chefs, and home cooks. Among her early accomplishments, Alice is credited with popularizing chocolate truffles in the US and introducing the larger “American” chocolate truffle, now a mainstream confection.

The New York Times recognized Alice for creative leadership in the decades that saw the gourmet and specialty food segment take on national culinary stature. She is a featured case study in Growing a Business, Paul Hawkens’s book and TV series profiling successful entrepreneurs. Alice’s other television appearances include the Food Network’s Chef Du Jour and Baker’s Dozen, Julia Child’s PBS series Baking with Julia, and Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America.

Since selling her interest in Cocolat in 1989, Alice has become an award-winning cookbook author, receiving three Cookbook of the Year awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals for COCOLAT: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts (Warner Books, 1990), Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts (Warner Books, 1994); and BITTERSWEET: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate (Artisan, 2003). In 2007, Gourmet, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine magazines named her Pure Dessert (Artisan, 2007) one of the top cookbooks of the year. Alice’s most recent book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your Mouth Cookies (Artisan, 2010), won the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook Award in the baking category. Her latest book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Dessert came out in May 2012.

Ever busy, Alice currently consults for established and emerging bakery, chocolate, and confectionery companies, and teaches in cooking schools across the country. She is working on another cookbook and posting updates to her blog.

Alice lives in Berkeley, California.