In case you don’t know, working in a kitchen is like no other job: the atmosphere, the pace, the inappropriate jokes and banter, let’s just say it isn’t for the meek. I believe it is these things that keep chefs going back every day; let’s face it, it isn’t the burns, the sweating on the hot line with no break or the long hours. Nope, it’s got to be the creativity, the adrenalin, the comradery, and the fact that we eat great food every day that keeps us in the kitchen.
I’ve worked in many restaurants and catering kitchens, and adapted pretty quickly to each one, found where the china caps were, what cooler the herbs were in and found where the cambro of chocolate covered almonds were in the dry storeroom. But it wasn’t until I went to Ohio that I ever got a chance to work in a bakery – the land of measuring cups and recipes – a bit of a foreign thing to a savory chef. I’ve done a lot of baking at my home, but not the type of production that equivalates to parties of 1500 people.
It turns out I managed to hold my own! My friend Maggie has a great thing going at her shop, Sweets by Maggie; she has talented bakers, a great PR Rep and her invaluable family behind her and the counter! Despite the stress and time constraints, the Sweets by Maggie crew manages to have a ton of fun and amazingly, remain thin!
Maggie has an awesome story, a “feel good story” if you will. After going thru some tough times in Florida, she returned home, to Lorain, Ohio. At home Maggie had the support of her family to help out with her two young sons while she settled into a new life. With a stroke of luck she found herself working at the CVI, the Culinary Vegetable Institute. At the CVI, she made a ton of contacts, worked with talented chefs from across the country and had fresh, beautifully, grown on site produce to work with.
Maggie also had time to revisit her passion for baking, a trade she learned before going to the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and falling in love with the savory side of cooking. Her rediscovered talent was not kept secret for long; Maggie soon had constant requests for her goods. The home kitchen soon became a bakery, her dining room table became a cake decorating table and her car became a delivery truck. With her at-home business booming, Maggie said farewell to the CVI and focused on her dream of opening her own shop. After a year of planning and penny pinching, that dream came true. Sweets by Maggie was open in October of 2010. The store is adorable, her crew is loyal and talented, her family support is endless and most of all- her sweets are A-maZing!
I have never been more proud of a friend, and I am so glad I was able to see her success first hand and test my baking chops at the same time!