Gina DePalma, the pastry chef who earned raves for her work at Babbo in Greenwich Village, died earlier this week. The chef had been dealing with ovarian cancer for many years. On October 24, Gina shared on Twitter: "I had a very complicated cancer surgery, was in the hospital for 2 weeks, and am still down for the count." She had another major cancer surgery in 2007.
RIP to the finest pastry chef I've ever known. Gina DePalma was everything @BabboRistorante xxxxx Gina you are in our hearts FOREVER— Mario Batali (@Mariobatali) December 30, 2015
DePalma got her start in the kitchen at Chanterelle and later Gramercy Tavern. The chef was part of the opening team at Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's Babbo, where worked for 15 years. DePalma won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2009. She contributed recipes to the Babbo Cookbook, and she wrote the book Dolce Italiano: Desserts From The Babbo Kitchen.
In a September blog post, Gina told her fans that she'd be going into surgery once again. The chef noted: "[W]ish me good luck, send me some good vibes, and do some good stuff while I'm out of commission. Hug your friends and family, kiss your pets, water your plants and send some thanks up to the universe."