Award-winning Birmingham pastry chef Dolester Miles retires after 40 amazing years

Bottega Favorita
Bottega, one of the restaurants where you can find Dolester’s pastries. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Birmingham certainly has an award-winning restaurant scene, but behind those restaurants are chefs, restaurant owners and staff who make the magic happen. One of Birmingham’s most influential chefs and a James Beard award-winning pastry chef, Dolester Miles, has officially retired. Read on for a look back at her wonderful career.

A legacy at four Birmingham restaurants 🌟

Dolester Miles famous coconut pecan cake
Dolester Miles’ famous coconut-pecan cake. (Bottega / Facebook)

According to, Dolester Miles was one of Frank Stitt’s first hires when he opened Highlands Bar and Grill in 1982. Along with serving as the pastry chef at Highlands Bar and Grill, she’s worked with Stitt and his wife Pardis at their other restaurants, Chez Fonfon, Bottega and Bottega Café.

As pastry chef at Highlands and Bottega, Dolester (or Dol as she’s better known) introduced Birmingham residents and visitors alike to delicious desserts, including:

  • Her signature coconut pecan cake
  • Lemon meringue tart
  • Strawberry cobbler

In December 2021, after almost 40 years, Dolester officially retired. The self-taught chef and Bessemer native leaves behind a legacy of delicious desserts and, more than that, true passion for bringing joy to people through food.

National recognition + a James Beard Award 🏆

After two nominations for outstanding pastry chef for the James Beard Awards, Miles won the James Beard Award in 2018. Her award came with national recognition, including a profile on The New York Times, confirming what we already knew all along: we’ve got top talent here in Birmingham. The same year that Miles won the James Beard Award for the country’s most outstanding pastry chef, Highlands Bar and Grill won the James Beard Award for the most outstanding restaurant.

Now, even though Miles won’t be the chef bringing life to her outstanding desserts, you can rest assured knowing that the team at the Stitt Family of Restaurants will continue her legacy.

Now tell us—what has been YOUR favorite dessert or experience with Dolester Miles? Tag us @BhamNow to let us know.

Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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