At the 20th annual U.S. Pastry Competition held March 1 at the International Restaurant & Foodservice Show of New York, Ajith AJ Saputhanthri, of Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach, N.Y., took first and was named 2009 Pastry Chef of the Year.

Ajith AJ Saputhanthri

Salvatore Settepani, of Pasticceria Bruno Bakery & Restaurant, Staten Island, N.Y., took second place; and Andrew Chlebana, chef-instructor at Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill., took third place in the competition.

The three winners competed against nine other finalists, creating showpieces in the theme of "Give my regards to Broadway." The U.S. Pastry Competition is presented by
Paris Gourmet.