Jill O’Connor is the author of four books published by Chronicle Books. They include Sweet Nothings, Phyllo, Easter Treats and Simple French Desserts. Her fifth book, also with Chronicle, titled Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth will be released in the fall of 2007.
Ms. O’Connor was born and raised in San Jose, California and later attended Santa Clara University, graduating in 1983 with a B.A. in English. After moving to London, England with her husband, naval officer Jim O’Connor, in 1986, she attended the Cordon Bleu Cooking School. She later honed her pastry skills at The International Pastry Arts Center in New York, studying with former White House pastry Chef Albert Kumin.
While living in London, Ms. O’Connor worked as a Director’s Chef for Grey Advertising Agency, where she was instrumental in upgrading the standard of their catering, while at the same time developing a deep affection for traditional British cookery. On her return to the California, she became the pastry chef for the world-renowned Golden Door Spa, one of first, and best, fitness spas in the United States. At the Golden Door, Ms. O’Connor developed her food styling techniques for recipes featured in House Beautiful, Bon Apetit, and Food and Wine magazines. These techniques came in handy when she did the food styling herself for her first book, Sweet Nothings, a book featuring delicious but low-fat and low-calorie desserts.
Ms. O’Connor left the professional kitchen to concentrate on writing, traveling the world with her husband, and raising their two daughters, 14-year-old Olivia and 6-year-old Sophia. Ms. O’Connor and her family have lived in England, Japan, Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, and Newport, Rhode Island, before settling (for now!) in Coronado, California.