Growing up in a small suburb in New Jersey, it never occurred to me that I would one day end up in the food industry. Until I was in high school, I can only remember visiting about three restaurants in my life. In high school, it expanded to about six and I had my first opportunity to visit a shop with fancy pastries. And it wasn’t until college that I had the magical opportunity to live and eat in New York. Suddenly, there was food everywhere and a lot of it was really good! The more pastries I tried, the more I wanted to learn about them and be in a kitchen.

Truthfully though, I was always set up for it. I had my first baking class in preschool. For years afterwards, I would bake when I was happy, when I was sad, and when I just wanted something sweet. Most of those years, it was the same few cookie recipes, but one day, something clicked and I started to bake in earnest. That I eventually would leave a career in public relations for a life in pastry was a surprise to no one. Last year, I gave up my weekends for eight months for ICE’s Pastry & Baking Arts program. Afterwards, I completed my externship at Locanda Verde and was hired there in October.

I had wanted to take the Culinary Management program while in completing my pastry studies, but it was unrealistic to believe I could juggle a full-time job and two school programs. So, on April 11, I’m finally gearing up to start the class.

Originally, I wanted to take this class simply to learn as much as possible about the food industry. I wanted a comprehensive education about the business side to compliment my pastry education. However, things got complicated during Module 1 of the pastry program when I started my own business — Macaron Parlour.

So, now I’m a co-owner (with Simon Tung) of this rogue bakery. We sell at fairs, do wholesale and events, and have an online shop, but we don’t have a storefront…yet. We’ve navigated through filing paperwork, finding commercial kitchens, and building a name for ourselves, but there is a lot more to learn. I can’t believe that we have been so successful thus far, but we can certainly expand and may even open our own storefront one day.

I’m excited for this program because I can’t wait to have a complete education on the process of starting, building, and running a successful business and I can’t wait to apply the lessons to my own burgeoning business along the way. Once again, I find myself managing a full time job and a very long commitment to the classroom, but it’s going to be completely worth it.

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