2008 photo of Heather Roth (Julia Ewan/The Washington Post)
Heather Roth, who as Heather Chittum baked a name for herself at Equinox , Circle Bistro , Michel Richard Citronelle and other Washington establishments, has joined the staff of the respected L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg as admissions director.

“I’ve always thought about teaching,” says the pastry chef, a 2001 graduate of L’Academie and until January the sweets maker for Hook and Tackle Box in Georgetown. The shift from restaurant kitchen to culinary school is, says the Brooklyn native, an attempt to “bring balance in my life.”

Last year was a roller-coaster ride for the pastry professional, 38, who appeared on the Bravo reality show “Top Chef: Just Desserts” and was diagnosed with breast cancer four months after she became engaged to local gourmet shop owner James Roth. (Her health status now? “I am doing well,” she says. “Finished with treatments.”)

The pastry chef is replacing Allyson Lara, “but no one’s leaving,” the school, says Roth; Lara is simply returning to the classroom to help teach. Roth’s responsibilities include interviewing, coaching and counseling prospective students.

Fans of the pastry chef can still get a taste of her handiwork. Roth sells custom-made cakes and other confections through her fledgling business Love and Butter Bakeshop. Her desserts will also be available at her husband’s store, Red, White and Bleu in Falls Church.