After earning her second semifinalist nomination for Butcher & Beer for the James Beard Awards Outstanding Pastry Chef Pastry Chef category, Cynthia Wong has announced she’s leaving the restaurant.
Since starting at B&B in 2016, Wong has brought accolades to the restaurant with both her wildly creative desserts, like her signature “Phatty Cakes” and ultimate party trick pastries, ice cream chicken drumsticks, and her outspoken stance on topics such as the #metoo movement.
Wong was featured in a Vice segment discussing women in the service industry earlier this winter and also shared her own experiences with sexism for City Paper‘s cover story, “You too?”
Before moving to Charleston, Wong worked at Cakes & Ale, then Hugh Acheson’s Empire State South as executive pastry chef before moving to John Fleer’s Rhubarb in Asheville, N.C. after a stint in London, racking up three JBF semifinalist noms along the way.
In a statement, Wong says differing visions led to her split with Butcher & Bee:
“I am very proud of my team and what we have accomplished in the past two years. We built a nationally-recognized pastry program from the ground up. I am grateful for the beautiful baking space and creative freedom that allowed me to showcase my dreams. However, despite much mutual admiration and respect, our differences in vision have led to different paths. I wish the Bee team nothing but the very best moving forward. I have several projects in development, and I am looking forward to seeing what kinds of other opportunities are out there.”
“Butcher & Bee wishes Cynthia Wong the best with her future endeavors as she departs our team this spring,” says Butcher & Bee owner Michael Shemtov. “We will continue to focus on creating a standout bread & pastry program and we look forward to cultivating the next wave of outstanding pastry chefs and bakers. With many exciting developments upcoming at Butcher & Bee and The Daily this year, we look forward to a period of growth and opportunity, which includes an exciting next chapter for the pastry program.”
The restaurant adds that it will continue to serve ice cream drumsticks, but will no longer serve Phatty Cakes following Cynthia’s departure. Butcher & Bee is currently in the process of looking for Wong’s replacement.
Wong will depart Butcher & Bee in late May.
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City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.