Meet WebstaurantStore's 2021 Diversity Scholarship Winner


Name: Juan Luis De Coss

Age: 37

Hometown: New York City

Program: Pastry Arts at The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts

“Can we have cake for breakfast?” is a question Juan Luis De Coss repeatedly asked his mother as a child, but he was the one making the sweets! Even more surprising, Juan was self-taught and didn’t come from a family of cooks or bakers. Watching the sacrifices and long hours his mother worked to support him as a single parent, Juan stepped into the kitchen to help. They didn’t have money for expensive ingredients, so Juan learned to use the basics of sugar, butter, flour, and whatever else he could find in the kitchen to create decadence.

Juan and Mom

More than a labor of love, baking was a source of joy for Juan. His best memories all share one commonality: pastries. The way he describes his childhood experiences in Mexico enjoying sweet treats is enough to make anyone drool. But the desserts represented more than indulgence to Juan. Each sweet treat was synonymous with family, home, holidays, birthdays, and traditions. “It is my dream to one day make a signature baked good like these, which will make memories for others and hopefully bring love and joy to many as they did to me.”

When he moved to New York City, his taste buds collided with a slew of new flavors. From donuts to gingerbread, his pallet readily expanded. He fell in love with carrot cake and tried making it from scratch. Over the years, he’s perfected his carrot cake, and it remains his favorite recipe to prepare. However, his greatest passion is for his first love: the authentic Mexican flavors of his childhood.

Juan decorating cake

Earning his Pastry Arts degree from The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts is preparing Juan to create innovative recipes and flavor combinations that imbue groundbreaking pastries with the traditional Mexican flavors of his heritage. After hearing the founder of an artisanal Mexican sweets shop in NYC, Fanny Gerson, present as a digital guest chef, Juan knew The Auguste Escoffier School was the right fit for him. “I aspire to do the same as her and share my Mexican culture through my baking. I wish to bring new flavors to many, enlighten their palates, and teach them about my culture to bring people together.”

The WebstaurantStore scholarship is helping Juan complete the second half of his culinary school journey. Having built a firm foundation, we’re excited to see the innovative baked goods he creates and the joy they spread. From entrepreneurship to teaching, and potentially entering a TV baking competition, Juan has big plans for his future. “I wish to teach others about baking, and help those who may not have the opportunities that I’ve had. I wish to become someone in the pastry world and make a mark.” At heart, Juan is still the little boy who supported his mother by baking for her. Juan concluded his list of goals with, “Last but certainly not least, I wish to make my mom proud and be able to work and take care of her the way she did for me. She deserves everything I'm working for and so I do it for her. ”

Posted in: Company Information|By Corrinn McCauley
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