One of my favorite things in the world is the smell of a freshly baked cake…the sweetness hanging in the air, enticing and daring at the same time. Sometimes I walk into a bakery just to experience that smell even though I’m not particularly in the mood for cake.
Now imagine a job where you work amid that smell all the time. Nay, you actually create that smell day after day after day. You design perfect, delightful baked treats that are incredibly beautiful and unbelievably tasty. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
If you’re considering going to a pastry chef school, there would be nothing more inspiring than to hear from the top names in the business about how it’s done. So, here’s a look at some of America’s finest pastry chefs:
1. Andy Chlebana: he began his culinary education at the Joliet Junior College before attending a culinary institute in New York where he studied baking and pastry. His professional journey started with a stint at Four Seasons Chicago where he was focused on fine dining desserts. His career included positions at various top-of-the-line hotels in addition to teaching baking and pastry at his alma mater. Chef Chlebana has won various accolades in dessert and pastry competitions across the country.
2. Susan Notter: Even as a child,Chef Susan Notter knew she wanted to bake cakes when she grew up. The rest, as they say, is history. Her more than quarter of a century long career spans across continents. From England to Germany and Switzerland, she’s spent time in various countries learning the art of dessert making. She was named as one of the Top 10 Pastry Chefs by the Pastry Art & Design Magazine, has penned two books, and was also featured on Food Network. She is the program director for the Pastry Arts program at the The Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts, a division of YTI Career Institute- Lancaster.”This skill (sugar work) has taken me all over the world teaching and training others. I love to share my excitement and enthusiasm for pastry,” she says about her current assignment.
3. Duff Goldman:Chef Duff Goldman is certainly the media’s darling featured as he has been on various shows including Food Network Challenge, Iron Chef America, Oprah, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Man v. Food.Born in Detroit, Michigan, to a Jewish family, his real name is Jeffrey Adam Goldman. His affinity towards food and kitchen began while he was still a baby and by the time he turned 14, he began working at a Bagel Store in a mall. He worked under various acclaimed chefs after completing his education and in 2000, started his own cake shop called the Charm City Cakes. He is known for making unusual cakes and has baked for a number of celebrities including the cast of Lost. Chef Goldman has even co-authored a book with his brother.
4. Gabrielle Feuersinger: It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Chef Gabrielle Feuersinger deals in dreams for isn’t it every girl’s (or boy’s?) dream to have that perfect wedding cake – a cake to beat all cakes? A native of San Francisco, California,Chef Feuersinger started her cake design business Cake Coquette in 2007. Her specialty is designing signature cakes for the Bay Area brides, but she can create cakes for any type of event. While today she’s recognized as a leading pastry chef in the country, Chef Feuersinger had to work hard and long to reach here. After completing her baking and pastry training, she moved from city to city gaining experience and honing her skills. Her creations have featured in various publications and she has been been a recurring presence in a local television show as well as the Food Network’s Cake Challenge.
5. Jimmy MacMillan: His is an inspirational story if ever there was one.MacMillan never wanted to work in a kitchen. It was only to support his first career as a musician that he took the odd kitchen job. Little did he know that this experience would get him his first real kitchen gig with The Four Seasons in Austin, Texas, after his band broke up. He was quick to identify the similarities between cooking and art and poured his creative energies into his food. He never looked back going on to work and train under pastry masters from across the world and developing the finest pastry programs for his employers. In 2011,MacMillan startedJMPurePastry LLC with his wife Julie in Chicago, which creates extraordinary pastry products for the restaurant and baking industry besides producing culinary videos.
In addition to their natural talent and ability, all these chefs have one thing in common. They all have a passion for pastry. If that rings a bell with you somewhere, anywhere, it’s time to dig out that pastry chef school brochure now!