As long as she can remember, Johana Langi yearned to be a pastry chef. Growing up in Queens, she found a passion in baking at a young age and started baking for friends, with friends, for school bake sales, or any other excuse to whip up something sweet. No one in Johana’s family baked, it was something special that set her apart from the rest. Her passion continued to grow, but her parents viewed pastry more as a hobby and encouraged her to get a traditional degree.
She studied English Literature at Baruch College, and during her senior year interned for the Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen. Originally just an editorial internship, Johana turned the role into an opportunity to test recipes and kitchen appliances for the magazine. She has fond memories of testing cookies, baking them in five different ovens, and reporting back which performed best.
Johana finally convinced herself to pursue pastry as a career. She cold-called restaurants until securing a pastry internship at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery, where she rotated through all the stations. Johana then went on to bake at some of New York City’s acclaimed restaurants, including Eleven Madison Park, Saul Restaurant at the Brooklyn Museum, The Lambs Club, Ciano, and Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Junoon. As her responsibilities grew, Johana mastered her technique and learned how to transform the best seasonal ingredients into something more than the sum of their parts.
In April 2019, Johana landed the job as Executive Pastry Chef at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Lincoln Center restaurants: Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud. There she manages two distinct teams and is charged with developing completely different menus: Mediterranean-inspired at Boulud Sud, and classic French bistro at Bar Boulud.
One of Johana’s creations at Boulud Sud is the “Mousse de Chocolate Oscuro,” a frozen aerated chocolate mousse dotted with chocolate crémeux and crunchy chocolate “pebbles,” finished with Maldon sea salt gelato, lemon-infused olive oil and crowned with mint leaves. Inspired by a sweet-and-savory Catalonian snack that Johana enjoyed in northeastern Spain, it’s a perfect addition to Sud’s Mediterranean menu, complementing the signature Grapefruit Givré.
At Bar Boulud, the emphasis is on the classics, highlighted by her “Gateau Basque,” a fragrant custard-based tart from the Pyrenees in the south of France. In both restaurants Johana looks forward to contributing to Chef Daniel’s spirit of French pride, passion and culture through her pastry.