Chef Katherine Clapner is the visionary of the entire Dude, Sweet Chocolate concept, as well as co-founder, co-owner, and Chef of the company itself. Having over twenty years of experience as a pastry chef, Katherine is a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. Prior to founding Dude, Sweet, she served for many years as Executive Pastry Chef at Stephan Pyles restaurant, working directly with Chef/Owner Stephan Pyles, a pioneer of New American Cuisine and legendary founding father of Southwestern Cuisine. The rest of Katherine’s story is no less impressive. Coming out of the Culinary Institute of America in New York with an associate’s degree in baking and pastry, Katherine headed overseas and got to work. Her first stop in Europe was the Savoy in London, followed a few years later with Windsor Court Hotel, Hotel Splendido and Hotel Cipriani under the Orient Express umbrella. Once back stateside, she worked under the instruction of recognized names such as Chef Charlie Trotter and Chef Kevin Graham. She trained and held Pastry Chef positions at Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago), Stephan Pyles (Dallas), Hilton Hotel Convention Center(Austin) and Central Market. She has contributed recipes and consulted with Wholesome Sweeteners, Southwest Vegetarian, PF Changs, Texas Honey Bee Guild and Rocky Mountain High Brands. Dessert Professional Magazine named Katherine one of their Top 10 Chefs for 2012 and she was featured on Chuck’s Eat the Street in 2014and recently “Beat Bobby Flay”. Wusthof Knives chose Katherine as a spokesperson and featured chef for their brand in 2013 and 2016.
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. Clapner, who now has four stores in Dallas / Fort Worth, a full production kitchen / packaging facility, is usually found in the kitchen surrounded by an apothecaries’ 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’s greatest culinary luminaries.