Christina Tosi (born 1981) is an American chef, author, and television personality. She is the chef, founder, owner, and CEO of Milk Bar, the sister bakery to the Momofuku restaurant group, with seventeen locations across North America.Tosi is the author of four cookbooks: Momofuku Milk Bar, Milk Bar Life, All About Cake, and Milk Bar: Kids Only.
|Born||1981 (age 39–40)|
|Education||French Culinary Institute|
|Cooking style||Pastry, dessert, French, Italian, Southern American cuisine|
Early life and familyEdit
Tosi was born in Ohio and raised primarily in Springfield, Virginia to an agricultural economist father of Italian origin and to an accountant mother. Growing up in the suburbs of Virginia, Tosi says that cooking has always been a part of who she is. She was raised by women who love to bake, the heart of kitchens and homes she grew up in revolved around causally made goods. As a child experimenting with food, she would often walk to the supermarket and play around with flavors that everyone had access to like marshmallow, cornflakes, chocolate chips, and sprinkles. After studying to become an electrical engineer for one year at the University of Virginia, she spent time in Florence, Tuscany, Italy, to see if she wanted to be a translator. Eventually, she graduated from James Madison University. After graduating, Tosi decided to turn her love of home baking into a profession and moved to New York City and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute's pastry arts program.
Tosi entered the culinary field at the fine dining restaurant, Bouley, and then advanced to wd~50. In 2005, she helped to write wd~50’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan. After working in the world of fine dining for nearly fifteen years, Tosi realized it was time to make a shift “ because I thought loving to make dessert in a professional capacity meant being at the top of your game, and being at the top of your game was being the most expensive fine dining establishment”, but she soon realized that being an executive pastry chef at a fine dining restaurant was not her passion.
On the recommendation of Wylie Dufresne, David Chang hired Tosi in 2005 at Momofuku to write his food safety plans and help administratively with the NYC Department of Health. Tosi would often bake cookies at night and them bring them in for the kitchen staff and Chang was so impressed with Tosi that he hired her to run their pastry program. There were no desserts on Chang's menu when Tosi came on board, and she created her own pastries, putting her extreme spin on childhood favorites, from cereal-milk panna cotta to fried apple pies with sour-cream ice cream and toasted miso. Tosi credits Chang with giving her the push she needed to open Milk Bar.
In 2008, Momofuku Ssam Bar's adjoining next store space became available, and Chang encouraged Tosi to open her own shop, which she named Milk Bar. Milk Bar first opened its doors on November 15, 2008. When they first opened, Milk Bar had a team of only five people and were often open for 16 hours a day. She had free rein to develop new recipes and the menu soon featured her trademarked Cereal Milk, Compost Cookies, Crack Pie (now known as Milk Bar Pie) and Candy Bar Pie. Tosi had the goal of taking the technicality of what pastry chefs were doing and carve out her own niche in the more informal setting of a bakery. In December 2009, Anderson Cooper appeared on Regis and Kelly professing his love for Milk Bar and its Crack Pie. Tosi says Milk Bar was so successful initially because “in a beautiful way it resonated with people because when you buy a cookie you’re buying it something so human, if you ever had a cookie or a cake or a pie you’ve probably had it from someone that’s in your family that cares about you”. This imaginative revisiting of childhood memories, folding high concept into playfulness, has become a true institution across the U.S., with boutiques and pop-ups. Tosi describes the goal at Milk Bar to “make it the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten. It may not look perfect and refined, but it's about being comfortably human in that space.”
By 2012, Milk Bar had grown from one retail sales location in the East Village of Manhattan to nine retail outlets in New York City, one in Toronto, Canada (opened in 2013), three in Washington, D.C. (opened in October 2015, February 2018 and May 2018) one in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas (opened in December 2016). and one in Los Angeles on Melrose Avenue (opened in September 2018). Tosi opened her first Boston-area store in Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in a unique partnership with &pizza, a Washington D.C.-based pizzeria chain. The Boston store was Tosi's 16th Milk Bar, and by February 2019, Milk Bar employed 381 people across North America.
Media appearances and featuresEdit
She joined the judging panel of MasterChef on Fox beginning with its sixth season, which premiered 20 May 2015, and the fourth season of MasterChef Junior, which premiered 6 November 2015. In April 2018, an episode of Chef's Table: Pastry featuring Tosi debuted on Netflix. The filming of Tosi’s episode of Chef’s Table took 14 days and she was initially unsure about joining the project. Up until that point, Chef’s Table had only featured fine dining chefs - Tosi was the first production baker to be featured. In April 2015, Tosi was featured on an episode of Conan making sweet desserts with leftover candy and a hammer.
Tosi has been featured in a variety of national publications:
- A list of "Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink" by Food and Wine Magazine in 2014.
- Glamour in 2014 in "The Power of Taking Risks and the Magic Behind Momofuku Milk Bar".
- Multiple times by The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tosi launched her Bake Club; an online community where Tosi’s followers could bake alongside her daily while learning to bake new recipes. Tosi’s Bake Club gave her followers an opportunity to learn classic Milk Bar treats while also testing new potential menu items. Tosi introduced this club to bring a “regular consistent touch point of positivity” to a world full of uncertainty.
- Tosi, Christina; McBroom, Courtney (2011). Momofuku Milk Bar. New York: Clarkson Potter. ISBN 978-0-30772-049-8. OCLC 701017680.
- Tosi, Christina; McBroom, Courtney (2015). Milk Bar Life. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-77043-510-3. OCLC 894128623.
- Tosi, Christina (2018). All About Cake. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0451499523. OCLC 0451499522.
- Tosi, Christina (2020). Milk Bar: Kids Only. Clarkson Potter. ISBN 978-0593231937. OCLC 0593231937.
Momofuku Milk Bar, Tosi's first book, was published by Clarkson Potter in October 2011. This book mostly contains recipes of the desserts that are sold at Momofuku Milk Bar.
Many reviewers praised her first book. Lisa Messinger wrote, "Tosi is a talented new voice you want whispering in your ear as you bake."
Although reviewers praised the sweet concoctions that were included in the first book, a reviewer for The Washington Post wrote that because the book is not written for the home cook, she found it very demanding to prepare the recipes since they are not tested for use in a home kitchen, some of the ingredients are not easy to obtain (glucose, gelatin and freeze-dried corn powder were mentioned), preparation of some needed intermediate ingredients are quite laborious and many home ovens do not operate in the same way as a commercial oven. Measurements used in the book are both by weight, as preferred by professional cooks, as well as by volume, as usually preferred by amateur cooks and popular food magazines. A reviewer for the Austin Chronicle wrote that preparation of some of the recipes was "a massive pain" to prepare due to the fact that there were many "sub-recipes" to be prepared before making the main item.
Milk Bar Life, Tosi's second book, was published by Random House in April 2015. This book contains recipes for dishes, some savory, that the author and other chefs may prepare for themselves and friends during their off hours.
In contrast, a reviewer of the second book, Milk Bar Life, liked it better since it included recipes for more savory dishes, uses easier-to-obtain ingredients, and appears to be more geared to the home cook than the first book.
Jenny Rosenstrach of the New York Times Book Review wrote of her second book, "It's impossible not to be charmed by the chatty Tosi and her hot pink and bubble-letter-filled never-never land..." The book includes tips like making your own Lambrusco using red wine in a Sodastream.
Other business venturesEdit
In 2018, Tosi and Milk Bar had executed several partnerships, including cookies with JetBlue, a lip balm with Glossier, a clothing and cookie mix collection with Madewell, and SoulCycle's first ever food offering in studios, the SoulFuel cookie.
During the spring of 2020 when many restaurants were closed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tosi and Milk Bar started to distribute their signature cookies through selected online and national retail food stores, starting with Whole Foods in April 2020, Amazon in May 2020, and Target in October 2020.
- 2012 recipient of the James Beard Rising Star Chef award
- Finalist for the 2014 Outstanding Pastry James Beard award for rising star chefs.
- 2015 recipient of the James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef award
- In 2016, Crain's New York Business included Tosi in their annual list of the top 40 business persons working in New York City who are under the age of 40.
- Sherman, Lauren (January 14, 2014). "The Secrets of a Skinny (Pastry) Chef: The Woman Behind Momofuku's Sweet Treats Spills". Elle.
- Leve, Ariel (April 21, 2012). "Christina Tosi: 'My diet was crazy for the first 27 years of my life'". The Guardian. Retrieved July 16, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "When Life Gives You Lemons". MasterChef Junior. Season 4. Episode 6. December 11, 2015. Event occurs at 15:30. Fox. Archived from the original on December 25, 2015.[dead link]
- "Milk Bar's New Flagship D.C. Bakery Will Roll Out Experimental Desserts Weekly". Eater DC. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
- "Locations". Milk Bar Bakery. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- "Chef/Owner Milk Bar". Christina Tosi. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- Witchel, Alex (May 3, 2011). "Christina Tosi, a Border-Crossing Pastry Chef". The New York Times. Retrieved July 16, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Tosi, Christina; Caracostea, Savinien (2015). "I don't want to cut a cookie out of my life". Log (34): 38–43. ISSN 1547-4690.
- Calderone, Ana (August 1, 2016). "Chef Christina Tosi Is Married! See Photos from Her Camp-Themed Wedding". People.
- Murtaugh, Taysha (August 2, 2016). "Milk Bar Owner Christina Tosi's Foodie Wedding Featured a Giant Naked Cake, Because Duh: The camp-themed wedding looked like a blast—despite the pouring rain". Martha Stewart Weddings.
- VanHoose, Benjamin (April 26, 2021). "Chef Christina Tosi and Husband Will Guidara Welcome Baby Daughter Francis 'Frankie' Ray". People.
- "Pastry Chef Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar – Biography". Star Chefs. May 2012. Retrieved July 16, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Choi, Mark HK (September 5, 2017). "Christina Tosi Has a Cookie". Eater.
- "Turn Your Creative Passion into a Thriving Business with Christina Tosi". Lewis Howes. April 1, 2019. Retrieved April 28, 2021.
- Muhlke, Christine (January 6, 2010). "The Nifty 50: Christina Tosi, Pastry Chef". The New York Times Style Magazine.
- Krader, Kate (November 28, 2016). "Learn the Secret Ingredient to Momofuku Milk Bar's Success: Owner Christina Tosi reveals how she's made a bakery empire, one Crack Pie at a time". Bloomberg News.
- Jones, Carey (December 2009). "Anderson Cooper Loves Crack (Pie) at New York's Momofuku Milk Bar". Serious Eats.
- Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, Part 1 | The Dave Chang Show (Ep. 21), retrieved April 28, 2021
- Henry, Michele (July 19, 2013). "Momofuku's Milk Bar opening in Toronto today: Now Torontonians will be able to get their crack pie — and eat it too". Toronto Star.
- Frederick, Missy (October 23, 2015). "Compost Cookies Are Here: Momofuku Milk Bar Is Open Right Now in D.C." Eater Washington DC.
- "Cult Bakery Milk Bar Starts Serving Crack Pie in Southwest February 23 [Updated]". Eater DC. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- Stapleton, Susan (December 30, 2016). "Cereal Milk, Crack Pie and Compost Cookies Arrive Via Milk Bar: Christina Tosi's Milk Bar debuts at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas". Eater Las Vegas.
- "Milk Bar opens at Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas". Las Vegas Review-Journal. December 30, 2016. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- Elliott, Farley (September 18, 2018). "Step Inside Milk Bar's Sweet New Los Angeles Home on Melrose - Eater LA". La.eater.com. Retrieved January 16, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Cain, Jacqueline (January 28, 2019). "The World's First Combination Milk Bar and &pizza Opens in Cambridge". Boston Magazine.
- Severson, Kim (February 12, 2019). "For Christina Tosi, Building a Dessert Empire Is Not All Milk and Cookies". The New York Times.
- Andreeva, Nellie (January 13, 2015). "'MasterChef Junior' Renewed For Season 4, Christina Tosi Joins As New Judge". Deadline Hollywood.
- DeJesus, Erin (January 13, 2015). "Christina Tosi Joins MasterChef and MasterChef Junior's Judging Panel". Eater.
- Wilkinson, Amy (May 20, 2015). "MasterChef: Meet 'scary but friendly' new judge Christina Tosi: The Milk Bar owner and pastry chef joins Fox's cooking competition series tonight". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Chef's Table | Netflix Official Site". www.netflix.com. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- "A Complete Guide to Netflix's 'Chef's Table: Pastry'". Eater. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
- "Pastry Chef Christina Tosi & Conan Make Grocery Rolls & Crackle – Conan on TBS". YouTube. April 16, 2015.
- Galarza, Daniela (August 26, 2014). "Watch Pastry Chef Christina Tosi in a Car Commercial". Eater.
- Bazilian, Emma (June 7, 2015). "How Pastry Goddess Christina Tosi Is Bringing Milk Bar to the Masses: The dessert pro talks MasterChef, endorsement deals and Crack Pie". Adweek.
- "The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink". Food and Wine Magazine. September 3, 2014. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Chef Christina Tosi on the Power of Taking Risks and the Magic Behind Momofuku Milk Bar". Glamour. August 14, 2014.
- Murphy, Jen (September 8, 2014). "For Christina Tosi, Chef and Owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, Running Is a Sweet Treat". The Wall Street Journal. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- Earle-Levine, Julie (July 7, 2014). "The Secret Behind Momofuku Milk Bar's Sweet Strawberry Treats". The New York Times.
- Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, Part 2 | The Dave Chang Show (Ep. 22), retrieved April 28, 2021
- Andriani, Lynn (November 9, 2011). "Baking Rules a Pro Says You Can Ignore". Oprah. Harpo, Inc. Retrieved July 16, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Messinger, Lisa (July 12, 2012). "Who Knew Cereal Milk Could be so Gourmet?". Creators Syndicate. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Chang, T. Susan (April 19, 2015). "'Milk Bar Life', reviewed: guilty pleasures, sweet and savory alike". The Washington Post.
- Haupt, Melanie (November 2, 2012). "Cookbook Review: Momofuku Milk Bar: Ain't nothing simple in Christina Tosi's cookbook". Austin Chronicle.
- "Milk Bar Life" (Press release). Random House. 2015. ISBN 978-0-77043-510-3.
- Rosenstrach, Jenny (May 31, 2015). "Cooking". The New York Times Book Review. p. 24.
- Cooperman, Jackie (July 5, 2015). "Why your Keurig is your new favorite bartender: Get Silly with Your Sodastream". New York Post.
- Levine, Sara (January 24, 2012). "Shortcut: Milk Bar Cookie Mixes". Cooking Channel.
- Salkeld, Lauren (January 17, 2012). "Momofuku Milk Bar Cookie Mixes". Epicurious.
- Baker, Lucy (February 8, 2012). "Testing Momofuku Milk Bar Cookie Mixes Against Milk Bar's Cookies". Serious Eats.
- "Target x Milk Bar: It's a "Milk Bar Life!"". Target (Press release). June 24, 2015. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
- "JetBlue Adds Iconic Momofuku Milk Bar Snacks to Its Premium 'Mint' Service". Fortune. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "We're Already Obsessed With the Beauty Product That Tastes Like Birthday Cake". Bravo TV Official Site. June 16, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "Madewell Announced A Collab With Another Brand Fave & We Want Every Single Item". Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- "SoulCycle Now Sells Cookies It Wants You to Eat Before Class". InStyle.com. Retrieved June 28, 2018.
- Krader, Kate (April 8, 2020). "Milk Bar Cookies Are Coming to Fill Empty Supermarket Shelves: Because everyone needs a cookie right now". Bloomberg News.
- Fortney, Luke (October 5, 2020). "Milk Bar Is Now Selling Its Cookies at Target Stores Nationwide: It's the latest step in the company's ongoing plans to grow into a national, household dessert brand". Eater NY.
- Lower, Claire (April 3, 2014). "The xoJane Interview: Momofuku Milk Bar's Chef Christina Tosi". XoJane. Archived from the original on July 25, 2014. Retrieved July 16, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "The 2012 James Beard Award Winners!" (PDF). James Beard Foundation.
- "The Complete 2014 JBF Award Nominees". James Beard Foundation. March 18, 2014.
- "The 2015 James Beard Award Winners!". James Beard Foundation. May 4, 2015.
- "40 Under 40 Class of 2016: Christina Tosi, 34, Milk Bar, Chef, founder and owner". Crain's New York Business. 2016. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016.