Chef Ursula XVII is a passionate chocolatier who has trained with world-renowned pastry chefs while working at several Michelin-starred restaurants and shops in Europe and the United States. A New York City native with family roots in Catalonia, Ursula spent most of her summers in Barcelona, where she embarked on any baking project she could find. After college, she decided to pursue formal training as a pastry chef.
While attending The French Pastry School in Chicago, Ursula staged at Blackbird restaurant. Upon graduating in 2012, she returned to New York City for an externship at Per Se, making petit fours, bonbons, caramels, pate de fruits and macarons. Her first professional position was at Michael White’s Michelin-starred Ai Fiori, where she spent five years working with pastry chef Alina Martell, mastering presentation and creating plated desserts, including ice creams and sorbets. After various stages, including at The Modern, Grace and NoMad, Ursula continued her training in Europe under chefs Albert Adria, Oriol Balaguer, and Jordi Ferrer, honing her gastronomic techniques and delving deep into chocolate.
Her inspiration to use fresh, local ingredients, extracts and essences came while heading the pastry team at the fine dining farm to table restaurant Ca L’Enric in Spain’s Catalonia region. In 2017, she returned to the U.S. and headed to the Hudson Valley’s famed Mohonk Mountain House. As assistant pastry chef, she was involved in the resort’s multimillion dollar renovation, spearheading recipe development, kitchen design and implementing a new bread and chocolate program.
Soon after, the farms and waters of the North Fork beckoned, and Ursula found herself knocking on the door of the North Fork Table & Inn, working with chef Claudia Fleming, who encouraged her to start her own line of chocolates.
Ursula launched Disset Chocolate in November 2020. Disset means “Seventeen” in Catalan, Ursula’s native language, and XVII (Seventeen) is her second name. (And because we know you’re wondering, the number is associated with significant family dates, from birthdays to weddings, and is a favorite of her economist father).