25th Anniversary Invite_Website-01.jpg
25th Anniversary Invite_Website-01.jpg

25th Anniversary


25th Anniversary

25 Years of Bittersweet

For 25 years we’ve had the joy of helping you celebrate weddings, birthdays, showers, anniversaries and more! In honor of our big milestone we want your favorite Bittersweet memories!

Was your child’s first birthday cake from Bittersweet? Send us a picture!

Can’t start your day without our chocolate croissant?  Tell us why!

Did we make your wedding cake? Share the story!

For each submission, you’ll receive a signature chocolate macaron. The person with the best memory will win a custom 12 inch celebration cake to serve 45 guests!

Send your pictures and stories to memories@bittersweetpastry.com 

or post to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #BittersweetMemories

Chicago Chefs & Foodies Share Their #BittersweetMemories

Celebrating 30 years of Frontera Grill has seemingly been an endless celebration. And I have to say, seeing Chef Mindy’s showstopping cake get wheeled into our anniversary bash – and singing “Happy Birthday” surrounded by friends and restaurant regulars — has been a major highlight.
— Rick Bayless Chef, Emmy-winning TV host, Frontera, Topolobampo, Xoco

Bittersweet and Judy Contino paved the way for artisan pastries in Chicago! She is one of the classiest, most humble chefs I’ve ever met and I am so lucky to have trained under her!
— Mindy Segal, James Beard Award Winning Pastry Chef, Author, Hot Chocolate
Mindy Segal

I’ll never forget my daughter’s first, I don’t know, 10 or so birthdays, when we would insist that we get the cake from Bittersweet. Judy was usually there on the day of pickup, making sure everything looked just so, and that the decoration was exquisite. Every other kid’s birthday would have the same store-bought sheet cake; a mass of sugar and frosting and unremarkable cake.

Madeline soon realized that her birthdays were capped off with something more worthy of a Pierre Hermé photo spread. Not only did they look beautiful, of course, but those vanilla custard-layered, strawberry-jammed cakes were just so incredibly delicious too.

I’ll never forget the looks on both kid’s and parent’s faces as we all sat around the table, just before cleanup. Even my mother-in-law - who tends to have strong opinions - would have to agree that this birthday cake was one for the record books.
— Steve Dolinsky, James Beard Award-winning food reporter, ABC’s Hungry Hound, The Feed Podcast

I remember the beautiful Jungle themed cake that my family ordered for my July birthday because I had gone to see the Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda followed by a safari in Tanzania and Kenya. The cake was stunning with marzipan animals and apes and jungle vines and flowers....

Then the beautiful cake with fondant and sugar pieces when I was awarded the James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef Great Lakes...the cake was shaped exactly like the JBF Medal....I still have the medallion that has since dried and become a great souvenir.

Judy is a pioneer! From pastry chef extraordinaire to Bakery and Pastry shop owner to the community and industry! Everything has such style and finesse. Even a simple cake, isn’t simple when it comes from Bittersweet.
No gimmicks...if it’s on the cake, it was of the highest quality...completely edible and functional.

My favorite cake was just last summer for by birthday...I saved the whole pastillage disc with the beautiful ribbons and gum paste food, wine bottles and French accents. I placed this in a shallow glass bowl and it sits on my desk. A constant reminder of the integrity and professionalism of Judy and Bittersweet.

Congratulations on a stunning 25 years!!
— Carrie Nahabedian, James Beard Award-winning Chef, NAHA, Brindille
Carrie Nahabedian

Jean Joho
Chef Judy Contino has been a wonderful friend and colleague for many years.  Bittersweet delighted us with a special cake to celebrate Everest’s 30th anniversary in January.  I wish them many more happy and successful years ahead.
— Jean Joho, James Beard Award Winning Chef, Author Everest, Studio Paris

Chef Judy taught me taught me to work hard and learn more every day; and she taught me how to care about the details - she is one of the reasons I am a perfectionist today!
— Takashi Yagihashi James Beard Award Winning Chef, Author, Takashi, Slurping Turtle

Sarah Levy
Congratulations on 25 years Bittersweet! What an incredible accomplishment!! I am forever grateful to Bittersweet and Judy for giving me the opportunity to get my first real professional pastry kitchen experience. 
Bittersweet taught me the importance of working through mistakes and how to multi-task.  I learned how to build and finish/frost cakes at Bittersweet, a skill that at one point was an integral part of my career. I learned how to work in a hot kitchen (It’s so important it is to get used to the heat!) 

I experienced my first wedding cake blooper at Bittersweet (of course, when I was 18 years old I wasn’t making wedding cakes, but rather I accidentally nicked one in the walk-in cooler). I learned the importance of treating employees well. I was always so impressed with how long people had been working at Bittersweet. And on my last day of my apprenticeship, when Judy gave me a cake turn table and cookbook (both of which I still use to this day), I realize that it is her thoughtfulness and ability to make people feel special and appreciated that makes people want to work hard for her and stay. 

Bittersweet pioneered the way for many other successful Chicago pastry businesses, and for that, Chicagoans should be grateful!   Bittersweet always has, and always will, set the bar high. Wishing you many more years of continued success!
— Sarah Levy Imberman, Chef, Jean Banchet Award nominee, Sarah’s Candies, S. Levy Foods