Junction City native is five-time nominee for national pastry chef honors
By Gazette staff
STEVENS POINT – For the fifth consecutive year, Junction City native Diane Moua has been nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef by the James Beard Foundation.
The James Beard Foundation is a nonprofit which nationally honors chefs and other professionals through an annual program.
Moua now works as a pastry chef in the Twin Cities area, but said she first discovered her passion as a young woman growing up the second oldest of six children in central Wisconsin.
“My mother had two jobs, so she was never home. Being the girl, I would do everything at home, like cleaning, cooking, all that,” Moua told the Hmong Times. “I worked at a grocery store and saw these beautiful cakes. I thought, that’s what I want to do– make pretty cakes.”
Moua enrolled in the Le Cordon Bleu culinary program in Eagan, MN. She then took an internship at La Belle Vie in Stillwater, MN.
“I had never worked in a restaurant before,” she recalled. “I remember walking in, and I saw all the tables set with so many little forks and knives I had never even seen before. I didn’t grow up eating out. For my family, dessert on special occasions was McDonald’s apple pie.”
Moua began her professional career at Aquavit, in Minneapolis, under Executive Pastry Chef Adrienne Odom.
Today, Diane is the executive pastry chef at Bellecour, in Wayzata, and Spoon and Stable and Demi, in Minneapolis.
She was nominated for Outstanding Pastry Chef, along with 19 other pastry chefs around the country.
The final Restaurant and Chef Award nominees were scheduled to be announced on March 25, but due to the COVID-19 outbreak, announcements have been postponed.