In this installment of “Meet the Chef,” we are delighted to introduce Chef Ewald Notter. Ewald boasts global acclaim as a pastry chef, and since 1991, he has been an integral member of Club Coupe du Monde Team USA.

Read our story on The Basics of Pastry: Essential Tools Needed for Sugar and Pastillage Work.

Ewald Notter photo in black & white

Chef Ewald Notter stands as a luminary figure in the world of pastry arts, renowned for his unparalleled skill, innovative techniques, and profound influence on the global culinary landscape. Born and raised in Fislisbach, Switzerland (near Baden), Notter’s journey into the realm of pastry began at a young age, nurtured by a deep-rooted passion for craftsmanship and creativity.

“At the age of 14, you better decide which way you’re going to go,” says Ewald. “This was the most difficult thing for me. I couldn’t decide. So my teacher advised me to do a stage in either winter decoration, carpeting, or in a pastry shop. He was right. He knew me best. I went to a pastry shop and did a stage for a week, and I fell in love with pastry.”

Ewald said he was excited because he liked sweets and he liked to create things so it all came together. “I started to do my homework again,” stated Ewald. “I became a different person. On an apprenticeship, you go one day to school a week, and you work four days, so I think it’s ideal. Three years or four years, you make your test and you move on. It was great.”

Despite misconceptions, talent doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of assistance along the journey. Like in any profession, seeking support from others is crucial, and this was equally true for Ewald.

cafe Spruengli
Confiserie Sprüngli, Zurich/Confiserie Sprüngli

“At that time, everything was new to me,” said Ewald. “The most influential person [to me] was maybe Chef Willy Pfund at the Confiserie Sprüngli in Zurich. I took classes in sugar decoration. He was a very funny, open-hearted person. Spontaneous. He took me under his wing. I worked with him for two years, after, every evening from five to nine. I learned a lot, and we experienced a lot. It was a great time. He was one of my mentors.

Gabriel Paillasson
Chef Gabriel Paillasson, MOF/Photo d’archives Stéphane GUIOCHON
Gabby Paillasson CMP USA
L to R: Chefs Gilles Renusson, Pastry Team USA Chairman; Roland Mesnier, Founder, Pastry Team USA; Sylvain Leroy, Gabriel Paillasson, Founder, Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie; and Roy Pell.

Later on, Ewald met and competed against Chef Gabriel Paillasson. Paillasson is the founder of the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie. “I saw his ribbons on his showpiece,” said Ewald. “I was so attracted, and I wanted to learn more, eager to do the same kind of ribbons and get the same kind of shine.”

Chef Stéphane Tréand
Chef Stéphane Tréand

Ewald reflects on his past school experiences, suggesting that attending school didn’t hold much significance for him, however he says that Olivier Bechard, who was a guest teacher at his school, played a pivotal role in his education by imparting knowledge on various aspects of art, including how to structure a piece, considering elements like the base, height, and color. He says that some of the most creative individuals he encountered were Chef Stéphane Tréand and Stefan Nehru.

“These are people I liked to be in touch [with], to be friends, to share, exchange. It’s good. it’s very important to have a network of good people,” stated Ewald.

I never thought of myself as a master of anything.

Ewald Notter

After completing his formal training in pastry and confectionery in Switzerland, Notter embarked on a remarkable culinary odyssey that would take him across continents and cultures, shaping his expertise and vision along the way. His quest for knowledge led him to study under some of the world’s most esteemed pastry chefs, honing his skills in traditional techniques while embracing innovation and experimentation. 

Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie Gold Medal Team 2001 – Chefs Ewald Notter, En-Ming Hsu, & 
Michel Willaume/Instagram – Ewald Notter

He has worked and competed in over 15 countries, winning numerous awards including at least 15 gold medals, as well as National and World Pastry Team Champion, and Pastry Chef of the Year.  As part of the 2001 U.S. National Team in Lyon, France, he scored the highest ever recorded number of points for sugar, 699 out of 700, helping the U.S. Team achieve its first and, so far, only Gold Medal at the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie.  Ewald has been honored by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences with the 5 Star Diamond award as “One of the Finest Confectionery Chefs of the World.”  He was also the first pastry professional inducted into the Pastry Art and Design Hall of Fame.   

Ewald Notter
Ewald Notter/Cornwall College/X

Throughout his illustrious career, Chef Notter has continued to inspire and educate generations of pastry chefs through his acclaimed books, instructional videos, and hands-on workshops. As a dedicated educator, he has served as a mentor and role model for countless aspiring pastry professionals, sharing his wealth of knowledge, expertise, and passion for the craft. 

Ewald says that whatever you do the most important thing is to do clean work, create good flavors, and know the techniques. The basics are the most important. Once you know the basics the creativity will come through you. However, if you don’t know them, you will get frustrated more and more.

Club Coupe du Monde Team USA 2001 – Gold Medal winners. Back row: L to R: Chef En-Ming Hsu, Flag Bearer, Bernard Duclos, Chef Donald Wressell (coach). Front Row: L to R: Chefs Jody Klocko (alternate), Ewald Notter, Michel Willaume, and Stanton Ho (coach)

Ewald’s life is punctuated by several notable moments, such as the establishment of his school and the publication of his first book. Yet, perhaps one of the most significant moments was clinching the Gold Medal at the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, marking the first time the United States secured the top position.

Ewald Notter Dote

It’s very different today when it was in ‘80s and in the ‘90s,” says Ewald. “We needed to compete to get our name out. There was no social media. We had to compete to get the name out, and then you got invited to do demos.”

“If I may say, also, when I knew I was going to a certain competition like Coupe du Monde [de la Pâtisserie], I went there two years before,” continues Ewald. “I was the dishwasher for the former team, but I got a sense of how to get there, what the judges are [like], what the facility [is like]. The equipment. Is it humid? All this is very important. It’s not just train, train, train. You have to get a sense of where you are going, and who is judging you.

Ewald Notter sugar sculpture

You cannot just do what the last team did to win. You have to figure out [How] do I beat their win? But you have to top it, otherwise you won’t win. That means if you top it, you have to take risks. Then, the demos become very helpful, and teaching becomes very helpful again. Because you make mistakes all the time, and you break a piece, but you have to put it back together. If you don’t have the knowledge or you don’t bring it with you – you don’t believe in yourself – it’s easy to fail.

Not that I’m better than anybody else, but I had a good team around me and coach me. They could ask for advice, and you’ll make it happen. But it doesn’t mean you need to win. Just go in there and put everything you have in it.

Gold Medal winners Club Coupe du Monde Team USA with Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie founder,
Chef Gabriel Paillasson (center)

“People say, ‘Oh, it was fun.’ Hell! What was fun? It was not fun! It was hard work. If I want to have fun, I’d play soccer or go to the beach. Competition is hard work, because you don’t want to make a fool out of yourself, and you want to make the sponsors proud of you. It’s a whole process, but that’s what I had in my mind and how I work.”

Ewald sugar book

Ewald has been featured in four instructional videos showcasing chocolate and sugar decoration for the Culinary Institute of America, all of which have become their top-selling videos. Additionally, he has authored several highly regarded books that have become classic references in the field. These include “The Textbook for Sugar Pulling & Sugar Blowing,” “Das ist Zucker—That’s Sugar,” and the widely popular “The Art Of The Chocolatier,” released in 2010. Notably, in April 2012, Ewald released “The Art Of The Confectioner,” the subject of reference in this article. 

According to his bio, Ewald is considered a master of modern-day confectionery arts. He is a celebrated competitor, eminent teacher, and esteemed author.  With an eye for color, an appreciation for textures, and a keen sense for details, Ewald introduced many ‘firsts’ that have helped mold the craft and advance the industry.

Notter’s contributions to the art of pastry extend far beyond his impressive list of accolades and accomplishments. As the founder of the Notter School of Pastry Arts in Orlando, Florida, he created a hub of creativity and learning where students from around the globe immersed themselves in the intricacies of pastry and confectionery under his expert guidance.

Dote shop
Image: DOTE Coffee Bar at The Bellevue Collection/The Bellevue Collection

Today, Ewald is the co-owner of DOTE (pronounced “doh-t.”), serving the finest grade, locally roasted, and sourced coffee, chocolates, and pastries. With four locations in Bellevue and Redmond, Washington, DOTE is a coffee and chocolate lovers paradise. 

Ewald Notter Dote
Image: DOTE

As one of the preeminent chefs in the world of pastry, Ewald is revered for his unparalleled talent, boundless creativity, and unwavering dedication to the craft. His legacy continues to shape the future of pastry arts, inspiring chefs and enthusiasts alike to strive for excellence, innovation, and mastery in every creation.

DOTE photo by Peachy Juban-Notter
Chocolate sculpture with macaron assortment/Peachy Juban-Notter

“I never thought of myself as a master of anything,” Notter says. “It is just a label that they gave me. In fact, whenever I judge a contest and they introduce me as such, I, in all humility, resolve to improve and be better in my profession.”

When asked about what advice he would give to anyone interested in the pastry profession Ewald said not to follow the Food Network.

“You may not like what I say, but I don’t follow Food Network at all,” says Ewald. “[It’s] totally crazy, and it’s all about excitement, this and that. Life is not like that. Pastry is not like that. Pastry is hard work. You have to love what you do. You have to follow a mentor, work closely with them. Build up a network of good friends so you can share recipes; you can share the problems you have. Don’t burn any bridges, and be an idol for everybody else. Even at my age, I clean the floor. I take the trash out. It’s part of team work. It works very, very well.”

On the heels of that advice, what sets the pastry profession apart is the profound admiration shared among pastry chefs. It is a supportive community where individuals encourage, learn from, admire, and cheer each other on, fostering a collaborative and uplifting environment.

Ewald Notter sugar sculpture

“Never be a ‘big head’,” emphasizes Ewald. “When you win in a competition, try to mingle with the other contestants, and don’t think that you are better than them. Remember, as far as the judges are concerned, all participants are good, but they just have to choose one winner.”

“In the same way, when you lose, you approach the champion and congratulate him [or her]. Always give that expected respect,” he adds. “Be friendly to all. In my case, since I travel a lot, I treasure my friends. They are the reason why success comes rather easy. I love my colleagues and I know they love me in return.”

The Ultimate Dish podcast, Kirk Bachmann, Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts