South Congress Hotel continued its impressive staffing this week with the hiring of executive pastry chef Amanda Rockman. Currently the pastry chef for the lauded Nico Osteria in Chicago, the 2015 James Beard-award semi-finalist will serve as pastry chef for both Central Standard, a New York-style bar and grill, and Café No Sé, a California-influenced Americana restaurant, as well as the hotel in general.
Originally from Houston, Rockman is returning to Austin, where she worked at Fino about a decade ago. South Congress Hotel partner Jesse Herman calls Rockman “one of the best pastry chefs in the country” and believes her return to Austin indicates that the city’s surging food scene is capable of drawing elite talent from around the country.
Herman calls Rockman’s work “classic and rooted in meticulous technique but not overly fussy from a presentation stand-point.” To get a sense of Rockman’s style, including her unique affogato offerings, check out Nico Osteria’s current dessert menu.
Nico Osteria is located inside the Thompson Chicago hotel, giving Rockman unique insight into creating dishes for both hotel and restaurant guests. The restaurant is operated by One Off Hospitality, whose managing partner, Donnie Madia, recently won the James Beard award for Outstanding Restaurateur.
“Those guys are as good as anyone in the business,” Herman said.
Rockman joins a South Congress Hotel team that includes executive chef Michael Paley, formerly of Proof on Main and Garage Bar in Louisville and the 21c Museum Hotel and Metropole in Cincinnati. Café No Sé is slated to open in July when the hotel opens, with Central Standard opening about a month later.