Stunning, innovative and Instagrammable are just a few words to describe pastry chef Chris Ford’s desserts. Chef Ford, the executive pastry chef at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, loves to share photos of his artistic creations on his popular Instagram @ButterLoveandHardwork, which has more than 88,000 followers.
“My culinary style is the juxtaposition of perfect and not perfect. I like clean lines and perfect shapes with an organic mix to them. I think simplicity speaks volumes with food and visuals. I always push myself to create something I have never seen before,” said Ford.
Ford’s love of food began at a young age. He grew up in Orlando, baking bread and testing recipes with his grandmother. He received his bachelor’s degree in culinary arts from Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando, where he fell in love with the creative element of making desserts.
"I think simplicity speaks volumes with food and visuals. I always push myself to create something I have never seen before."
Chef has an impressive resume, working with some of the country’s most-renowned chefs. After graduation, he had a few jobs before opening Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina at the Four Seasons Baltimore in 2011. After two years, he went to Bouchon in Beverly Hills, where he worked with acclaimed chef Thomas Keller. He then became the corporate pastry chef for Bryan Voltaggio, overseeing pastry operations at nine restaurants across the Mid-Atlantic region. In 2015, Ford rejoined the Four Seasons as executive pastry chef at the Beverly Wilshire. He moved to the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills in May 2019.
Ford has received several professional accolades. While in Baltimore, he was recognized as Food & Wine magazine’s People’s Best New Pastry Chef of 2012 and was named Best Pastry Chef by Baltimore magazine. During his time at Bouchon, he was named one of Zagat’s 30 Under 30 in Los Angeles.
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“My proudest accomplishments have been being recognized for my work,” said Ford. “I was always inspired by chefs as a young cook, so to hear that I have inspired young cooks is extremely humbling and rewarding.”
Ford is known for “elegant nostalgia,” paying homage to classic desserts like cream puffs and carrot cake, while updating them with modern techniques. He is also well known for his breakable desserts. “The breakables have become one of my signatures. The chocolate works of art can be cracked open to reveal confections and candies,” he said.
Ford’s breakable desserts became a phenomenon in 2018 when Kim Kardashian West asked him to help launch her limited-edition Kimoji Hearts fragrance after he had sent her several gifts of his breakable creations. Ford and Kardashian West collaborated to create a memorable way to announce the new fragrance. She sent Ford’s chocolate replicas of her heart-shaped perfume bottles to 150 friends and influencers with a branded wooden hammer to break open the chocolate heart which revealed sweetheart candies and a perfume bottle inside.
It took Ford more than a week to create the chocolate hearts, using more than 1,200 pounds of chocolate and 100 pounds of sweetheart candies. When celebrities like Chrissie Teigen posted photos of the smashable hearts, they became a social-media sensation.
In February 2019 Ford appeared on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and highlighted some of his creations including his breakable hearts and exquisite chocolate roses. “Working with celebrities has been a huge part of my success,” said Ford. “Channeling the creative conversation with them has been amazing. These types of projects are intensely challenging and can be stressful, but the outcome is always gratifying.”
In addition to starting a new job, running Butter, Love & Hardwork and working on high-profile projects like creating breakable-chocolate skulls to promote the new HBO series “Los Espookys,” Ford is planning his January wedding in Marrakesh, Morocco.
Whether he’s collaborating with celebrity clients, creating holiday treats or reinventing classic desserts, Ford is driven by passion for his work and derives great satisfaction from the impact of his creations. “I love making people happy, surprised and intrigued by desserts,” he said. “Not everyone can say their job is to simply make people feel good. Touching on nostalgic moments with food is the most rewarding part of my job.”