Thaddeus DuBois got his start working at local bakeries while attending University of Montana in Missoula, but three decades later, the executive pastry chef at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City is one of the biggest names in the industry.
Selected as one of Ten Best Pastry Chefs in America in 1999, he also served as executive pastry chef at the White House, where he crafted desserts for high-profile dinners and events hosted by President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. Yet despite calling it the high point of his career, DuBois is brief when talking about his time with the First Family. “Everyone always wants to know everything about my work there. It’s like working for a hotel and private family all wrapped up into one,” says DuBois.
A self-proclaimed western boy, DuBois was born in Los Angeles and spent his childhood in California, Utah and Idaho. After completing two Bachelor of Arts degrees in music and a minor in horticulture, he studied baking and pastry at the Culinary Institute of America. But music remains in his life, and he plays the piano daily. “It’s a great complement to my career of pastry,” he says. “There is nothing more pleasing than starting your day with a Bach prelude and fugue and finishing your day with a Chopin etude and doing pastry in between.”
Borgata first welcomed DuBois in 2003, just before he was called to the White House. He returned two years later and now oversees all pastry and bread production for Borgata and the adjacent Water Club Hotel. His pastry shop provides sweets and baked goods for over 20 outlets, keeping the scene fresh for DuBois and his staff. “Borgata is a fantastic place to work. It’s high-paced, always busy, and as Atlantic City’s market-leading casino, it positively creates a sense of pride in working here. It’s by far the busiest place I have ever worked,” he says.
DuBois takes a thoughtful approach to his art, focusing on presentation and taste. He draws his inspirations from all over: colleagues’ work, books and magazines, industry trade shows, food events and his own imagination. “Pastry is a very complicated technique-based craft, so I take it very seriously. It’s also an extremely giving craft, and I get great satisfaction in performing and learning from it always.”
(Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; theborgata.com; 609.317.1000)