French Pastry School: What was your background previous to studying pastry and what led you to pursue an education in pastry?
Karli Valenta: Right out if high school I started classes at Ripon College for Chemistry and Biology. After only one semester I realized it was not what I wanted to do and found myself becoming obsessed with cooking. I attended Fox Valley Technical College for culinary arts and hotel and restaurant management where I fell in love with baking and pastry. As I was about to finish the program, I talked with my pastry instructor and she suggested I attend The French Pastry School to further my education. I applied for a scholarship from For the Love of Chocolate and when I was awarded it, I was on my way.
FPS: What was the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
KV: Even though I was exposed to a pastry education previous to attending The French Pastry School, I had no idea some of the things we made even existed! It was fascinating to make things that only a certain handful of people ever get to make using great equipment and ingredients. I also learned much about myself, my style, my capabilities, and my confidence.
FPS: What are you doing currently in pastry?
KV: I will be moving to Milwaukee, WI and will be working at Le Cakery; a bakery and cafe where I will be baking, assembling, and decorating all of their wedding cakes.
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
KV: I hope to be still making and decorating wedding cakes. If the opportunity is there, I would like to explore the option of opening my own business specializing in wedding cakes and small bakery items.
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?
KV: I'd have to say I will remember simply being surrounded by a staff of great pastry chefs, all who are top notch in their field and being able to converse with accomplished chefs that share the same passion as I do. It motivates me to become the best I can be!