Try Marie-Antoine Careme, No one since has done what he has done. If you don't know who I am talking about reference The Larousse Gastronomique.
Old time-- Joseph Lambeth, if you can find his books get them at all cost!!
Modern day chefs,Hmmm I would say no-one from the food channel, sorry Duff fans. I have my reasons there.
Michael Laiskonis comes to mind. He is a vary articulate chef who despite all the "new" cooking these days still keeps his head out of his a@#. I respect the guy tremendously.
Michele Bras, though his book is a "mouthful" to go through. Most of his recipes are lost on the typical Applebees customer. Save him for your tasting menus.
Sam Masons stuff is unique but alas the fusion of sweet and savory seems more to be a result of having nothing left to say.
WD-50 left me feeling empty--my wallet too.
Will Goldfarb, well... another flash in the pan, unfortunately he is another victim of the molecular gastronomy restaurant gone wrong.
I liked him better at the Ryland Inn.
Oriol Balaguer- My personal fave right now but it is hard to wrap your head around his stuff. The technique is great, the recipes good, definitely not for the Tira-mi-su types. Buy his book you will see what I mean.
Johnny Iuzzini, I have to say I like the guy and having hung out with him in Vegas once, he proved himself uber cool on the coolness scale. His desserts are great, interesting, true to the point and fortunately not contaminated by the "molecular" trend.
Jean-Francois Bonnet I like for the same reasons as Johnny Iuzzini but he is less Rock and roll, more classic. Desserts are amazing.
Elizabeth Falkner- Good baker? yes, Good pastry chef -well....no.
Demolition desserts-good book if you like brownies, cartoons and stuff like that.
The Gale Gands and Rose Berenbaums and Emrils of the world read better than they recipes actually work. These cookbook chefs are better off baking than putting out any more books that cater the food network crowd. Stay away.
Though not a pastry chef Kat Kora is like the Paris Hilton of the food world. Famous for doing nothing LOL!!
Disclaimer: These are my opinions, so don't get all in a huff if I upset anyone and poke at their personal heroes. I do not consider milkshakes, brownie stacks and NY cheesecake with raspberry coulis as fine pastry, sorry if you cannot handle reality. I can name more if you want, these just come to mind having referenced most of them lately for my spring menu ideas. Also I am bitter as I am not on my own list!
If anyone posts Rachel Ray I will put the curse of Gypsies on you!!:crazy: