I grew up in a small town where I spent many afternoons at my grandparents' house watching them cook and bake for a large family. On any given night, my aunts and uncles, cousins and family friends might stop by to visit, and there was always plenty of food to go around. I remember watching the whistle on the top of the pressure cooker and wondering if the lid was going to explode! I would sit on the counter as my grandpa rolled out pie crust, delicately lifting it into the pie plate and shaping the edges. After baking it and filling it with delicious coconut cream, my grandmother whipped up meringue to adorn the top. The first time I saw her make meringue I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Egg whites, sugar and water magically turned into a shiny white cloud! She would use the spatula to lift the meringue and make perfect white peaks. Waiting to dig into that pie was torture, but always worth the wait.
After high school, I went to a local community college and started a full-time job. I had no idea what I wanted to do, but always had a dream of owning a business. After a couple of years, I still didn't have any clear direction and my career seemed to be taking off. I quit school and focused on my next promotion. At the ripe old age of 25 I decided my baking hobby was worth pursuing. I moved to Chicago and attended culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Every morning, Monday through Friday, I woke up at 4:30am, took the El train to Chicago Ave. and began my baking and pastry classes. After class I would change into business attire and take the El downtown where I would work into the evening. It was the most wonderful experience of my life. I was tired most of the time (this is when I developed my coffee addiction) but I was happier than I had ever been. This was my calling.
Many years later (I'm not telling you my age!) I am married with two beautiful daughters and living the American dream. While I continue to work for Corporate America, I have built a successful home-based business that keeps me busy and happy. I still have a dream of having my own shop and I look forward to seeing you all there!