For young women starting out, the biggest advice I have is... work, just work. You should not bring up the fact you're a woman, you should strive to be a very good cook or a very good chef first.
Chef Katherine Clapner is the visionary, co-founder and co-owner of Dude, Sweet Chocolate in Dallas, Texas. A culinary force to be reckoned with — Katherine is a veteran of the industry with over 20 years of experience and whose curiosity and passion continue to fuel innovative ideas for her dark chocolate collection.
Part of the second baking and pastry class that launched at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New Work, Katherine graduated with an associate’s degree and headed overseas to get to work, honing her skills and starting her career.
After several years working in Europe at the famed Savoy in London, followed by the Windsor Court Hotel, Hotel Splendido and Hotel Cipriani under the Orient Express umbrella, she returned stateside to continue her journey.
Katherine’s experience, talent and incredible work ethic earned her positions working under the instruction of industry icons, including Charlie Trotter, Kevin Graham and Stephen Pyles. After several years, Katherine decided to create her own path and began consulting.
She has contributed recipes and consulted with Wholesome Sweeteners, Southwest Vegetarian, PF Chang’s, Texas Honey Bee Guild and Rocky Mountain High Brands. And, Dessert Professional magazine named Katherine one of their Top 10 Chefs for 2012. She was featured on Chuck’s Eat the Street in 2014 and in 2016 walked away the winner on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. She has also served as a Wusthof Knives spokesperson and featured chef for their brand.
Her diverse collaborations have a wide range, including Jim Beam, Breckenridge Distillery, Laphroig, Yaupon Tea, Rahr Brewery, Pork Council, Fungus Amongus Mushroom Co., World’s Craziest Funerals, The Flaming Lips and Valrhona chocolate.
Katherine can be found running her full production kitchen and flagship Dude, Sweet Chocolate location, surrounded by an apothecary’s treasure trove of plants, animals, brain molds, and plastic unicorns. She remains an active part of the local food community, consulting and eating with some of Texas’ greatest culinary luminaries.