The City of Chicago has acquired a new resident: one of the best bakers in the world. Master Pastry Chef and World Baking Champion, Pierre Zimmermann has arrived in the Windy City, leaving behind his small village, Schnersheim in Alsace, and the bakery which had been operated by the Zimmermann family for four generations. After having taught courses for over a decade on a yearly basis to professional bakers through the Continuing Education program at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago, Chef Zimmermann has transitioned to a full-time instructor, where he will be overseeing all of the bread classes and programs.
"I believe that the future of the artisan baker is revealing itself in the most wonderful manner possible in the United States and all over the world," said the two-time winner of the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie, or World Cup of Baking, Pierre Zimmermann. "Today, the profession of baking is more respected than ever, so it's easy to imagine successful bakers of tomorrow."
Zimmermann's extensive experience as an artisan bread baker and entrepreneur, as well as his passion and dedication to the craft make him a significant asset to the school's team of instructors. In addition to leading the French team to victory in the World Cup of Baking in 1996 and 2008, Pierre's many achievements include receiving the prestigious Bretzel d'Or award in 2004 for promoting Alsatian culture internationally. Zimmermann has been sought out by chefs all around the world hoping to gain from his expertise. He has traveled widely as a consultant to businesses the world over, including establishments in Japan, Jordan, Russia, Martinique, the Czech Republic, in North Africa, and to the Far East.
"Pierre helps his students believe that they are capable of reaching their own goals. He is a great inspiration to them, a tremendous baker, artist, and professional who has achieved much in his career," said Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer who worked as a pastry cook in the same shop where Zimmermann was an apprentice in Strasbourg, France about 30 years ago. "This is a quality that makes him an incredible teacher. Pierre has always been someone who achieves his objective in whatever he sets out to do."
Future students of Zimmermann may look forward to learning some of his Alsatian specialties like the Kougelhopf, pain à la bière, savory specialties like Alsatian beer-bread sticks, as well as classics like the croissant, Danish, or pain au chocolat. Chef Zimmermann will begin teaching in September at The French Pastry School, and will continue to instruct master classes to baking professionals in the Continuing Education program. He will join fellow Chef Instructor, Jonathan Dendauw to promote the art of baking at the International Baking Industry Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada, September 26-29.