French Pastry School: What was your background previous to studying pastry and what led you to pursue an education in pastry?
Erin Silva Winston: Most recently, I worked as a Front of House Mananger/Wine Director at a restaurant in the North Shore for two years. Before that I thought that I might want to go to medical school so I successfully completed Bryn Mawr College's post-baccalaureate premedical program and the MCAT exam. However, I chose to change my career because I wanted to do something creative and hands-on. In this profession I like the creativity in pastry very much, but I also like the creativity of coming up with a concept, with promotion ideas, and all that goes along with it. Receiving my For the Love of Chocolate Scholarship was a large factor in why I was able to attend The French Pastry School.
FPS: What was the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
ESW: The most eye opening moment for me was learning that before creativity comes basic (and in some cases not-only-basic) technical skill. This made me reevaluate how I was working and also made me much more comfortable with creating dishes and menus.
FPS: What are you doing currently in pastry?
ESW: In January 2012, I am re-concepting and reopening my restaurant in Evanston, Hota. I will be working as Pastry Chef designing and making the pastries, and also doing basic running-of-business duties.
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
ESW: I really love what I am doing right now. If I am successful, though, I would like to expand to have a bakery concept attached to the restaurant. The subjects I like the most, in many ways, are the ones associated with bakeries rather than restaurants: breads, tarts, etc. I would like to have time to do those things.
FPS: In the future, what will you look back on and remember most vividly about your time as a student at The French Pastry School?
I am so happy with the amount that I have learned and the skills I am taking away with me. I know that with my many memories, these skills are what will stick with me overtime, as I practice them in my daily life.