Dominique Ansel

Have you ever cooked up a dessert so good that it merited a "TM" after it? Well, that's the story of Dominique Ansel's Cronut (TM), the doughnut/croissant hybrid that's been sweeping the country since the James Beard-nominated pastry chef introduced it in May 2013. There's something about this little cream-filled wonder. There must be, or how else could it demand 20 times its retail price on the black market?

After honing his craft for seven years at Daniel Boulud's flagship French restaurant, Ansel went on to open his own bakery in New York's South Village in 2011. It's quickly become the highest ranked bakery in the U.S. according to Zagat 2013.

Here are Dominique's five favorite restaurants:
Salumeria Rosi - New York, NY - "The Pontormo salad wins me over every time. The crispy bits of warm Pancetta and soft scrambled egg slightly wilt the greens that are dressed in a vinaigrette. I think about that dish all the time -- the simplicity of it all, and yet how hard it is to carry out perfectly. Every great restaurant needs a dish like that."
15 East - New York, NY - "I'm always told by my Instagram followers that I eat a whole lot of sushi. And at 15 East, Chef Masa serves up some of the best and most generous sea urchin from Hokkaido that I've ever tasted."
Picca - Los Angeles, CA - "Peruvian cuisine absolutely intrigues me with the type of flavors they serve up. Something my taste buds are not very used to. Here, their causas -- these types of tiny sushi-like bites that come on top of whipped potato -- sounded strange to me at first, but are the perfect two bites of flavor. Braised ox tongue, a nice pan-fried egg to break over your steak, and ceviches soaking in perfect leche de tigre."
Blue Hill at Stone Barn - Tarrytown, NY - "I try to visit Stone Barn at least once a year to taste the amazing dishes based on the best ingredients. Something as simple as a toasted brioche is made with wheat grown on the premises and a selection of butters with the name of the cow attached. A vacation in a meal, every time."
Daniel - New York, NY - "I worked at Daniel for close to 7 years, and you'd think I had enough of the food. But every year for Thanksgiving, I go back. It's home to me, and I know there's a very dedicated and talented team there before everything."
The Cronut
Learn more about Ansel and his Cronut (TM). Or follow him on Twitter.