Robert “Buttercup” Nieto
A native of Texas, Robert “Buttercup” Nieto began his career as a line cook at the Corpus Christi Country Club after received his cooking and baking certificate from Del Mar Community College. Although he started as a line cook, Robert always had a thing for sweets. Robert then headed west to Las Vegas to work in 5-star hotels, such as: Bellagio, Paris Las Vegas and the Venetian as a Pastry Sous Chef. Robert finally got his break by landing a job as Pastry Sous Chef at world-renowned Chef Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro. He was given the opportunity to move to Napa Valley as the Pastry Chef of Bouchon Bistro and Bouchon Bakery in Yountville. Robert then moved to Sonoma County to work at Michelin starred restaurant, Madrona Manor as the Pastry Chef in 2010 and as the Pastry Chef at Jackson Family Wines in 2012 where he was affectionately given the nickname "Buttercup".
Over the course of his career, Robert has competed in a myriad of pastry competitions. In 2013, he was selected for tryouts by Bread Bakers Guild of America to compete in Viennoiserie and Artistic Design. In 2015, he competed at Pastry Live in the Chocolate Bon Bons, Plated Dessert, and Championship Showpiece categories. That same year, he also had the privilege of being selected as a finalist for the Valrhona Chocolate Chef Competition (C3). In 2016, Dessert Professional Magazine selected Robert as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs in America. Recently, he was selected as a member of Team USA for the Mondial des Arts Sucre international competition in February of 2018 in Paris, France. Robert and his team member came in 5th in the world in this intense and highly competitive competition.
In early 2019, Robert launched he own chocolate company, Fleur Sauvage Chocolates (Fleur Sauvage means Wild Flower in French). Fleur Sauvage Chocolates makes custom chocolates for local wineries using seasonal ingredients. Fleur Sauvage Chocolates also sells at Sonoma County Farmers Markets, Festivals, and special events. On Robert's days off, he spends much of his time experimenting with recipes, working on his business, and spending time with family and friends. He is also a bike and triathlon enthusiast. Robert is passionate about transforming ingredients into desserts and is adept at creating pairings with wine, beer, tea and coffee to find the ideal balance. Robert has an extreme love for chocolate... So much so that he has three chocolate themed tattoos!