Janina O’Leary

Owner & Pastry Chef, Play Dough

Janina O’Leary is no stranger to the world of fine pastry. The 2013 James Beard semi-finalist is a graduate of The French Culinary Institute with a Grand Diploma in Pastry Arts and has worked for great chefs at acclaimed restaurants including Laurent Tourendel at BLT Prime, Daniel Boulud at Daniel, and Thomas Keller at Per Se. From there she worked at Mario Batali’s New York Times four-star rated Del Posto, went on to open the bakery Village Tart with mentor Pichet Ong, and consulted on recipe development and photography for a Martha Stewart cookbook. A Texas native, O’Leary is thrilled to be back in her home state with her family. In 2010, as executive pastry chef for the opening of the W hotel Austin, Janina developed the pastry department for the property which included weddings, banquet facilities, and the hotels’s restaurant TRACE. In 2014, Janina joined the opening team of la V restaurant and wine bar as executive pastry chef where she developed a technique driven dessert and bread program. She has been featured in numerous media publications including the New York Times, the Austin American Statesman, Texas Monthly, Eater National, and was recently awarded “best pastry chef” from Eater Austin 2015. Currently, Janina and her husband, Sean, are excited to be working on opening Play Dough in Austin Texas.