About Claudia Fleming-Hayden
Claudia Fleming-Hayden was born in Brentwood, New York and dedicated most of her first twenty-five years to the pursuit of a career in modern dance. When she was twenty-one, she moved to New York City where she spent four years working with a small modern dance company. Like many other artistic-minded folk, she made her way to the restaurant world in the early 1980s to support her career, working in the dining rooms at Jams andUnion Square Café. She was immediately attracted to both the theatrical and creative aspects of restaurant work.
During her tenure at Union Square Café, Fleming-Hayden was a member of the hospitality team and worked at various stations in the kitchen. She gravitated towards the kitchen and pastry became her new calling. In 1991, determined to hone her skills, she decided to go directly to the source and study pastry in Paris, France. After a stint at the prestigious Fauchon, Claudia Fleming-Hayden returned to New York where she would hone her skills and become a famous pastry chef.
She delved into pastry making at Montrachet, TriBeCa Grill and Union Square Café. It was during her time at TriBeCa Grill that she met her husband Gerard Hayden who was working as the sous chef while she was the pastry cook. In 1994, when Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio opened their new restaurant,Gramercy Tavern she was offered the position of pastry chef and eagerly accepted the position, which she held for close to a decade.
In May 2006, Claudia Fleming-Hayden and her husband Gerard Hayden partnered with Mike and Mary Mraz to open The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, New York. The restaurant is touted as the best restaurant on Long Island with the #1 Zagat-rating, in addition it has received the highest “excellent” rating from The New York Times and four-stars from Newsday.
Fleming-Hayden has also received the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Pastry Chef award in 2000 and Pastry Art & Design named her one of their 10 Best Pastry Chefs in 2000 and in 2001. In 1998, Saveur included her in their esteemed “Saveur 100” list. Her work has been celebrated in publications such as The New York Times, Town & Country, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, The Oprah Magazine, Bazaar, In Style, Vogue and Self.
She was featured on CNN/Time’s segment Innovations: Just Desserts with Bernard Shaw, which won the James Beard award for the Best Television Segment. In addition, she has appeared on Martha Stewart Living and The Food TV Network. Her first book, The Last Course: Desserts from Gramercy Tavern, was released in October 2001 and continues to receive rave reviews. Claudia Fleming-Hayden’s status as a famous pastry chef has also earned her judging spots on both “Chopped” and “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and a guest appearance on Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa”.