The French Pastry School: What was your background previous to pastry, and what led you to pursue a pastry education?
Michelle Zorn: Though I have an extensive administrative background, I have always desired a culinary career. As my son was preparing to enter college himself, I went back to school to finish my Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management degrees… so we ended up attending the same college at the same time. After graduation I still wasn’t satisfied with my level of knowledge and wanted to focus on pastry… I knew if I were going to invest more time in school, I wanted it to be the best pastry education possible.
FPS: What has been the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
MZ: It’s eye-opening every day! I didn’t expect world-class instructors to be so personable; they are a wealth of knowledge and happy to share it. We’ve learned so many ways to use and manipulate products, tips/tricks for production and business success, and seen some of the most beautifully creative presentations – all of which can be translated somehow into what we do every day. That’s very exciting to me, and I never tire of it.
FPS: What are your plans following graduation?
MZ: I’m heading to southern California; my hunger for learning is never satisfied! Hoping to work with some more talented chefs, who will help me continue to grow my knowledge and be part of providing excellent customer experiences every day. There are so many baking/pastry applications and types of businesses and so many ways to make beautiful, delicious treats; I love that about what I do!
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
MZ: Hopefully starting my own little patisserie with a variety of breads, cakes, and wonderful French pastries. My goal is to hire people who really want to learn the craft, but might not be able to attend a school like FPS. Knowledge is a treasure that can’t be taken away… gotta pay it forward and share the love!
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?
MZ: I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to work with such tremendously talented chefs! It’s exciting, humbling, and inspiring every day. I watch how they create things and teach and think about the paths they’ve traveled to get where they are…it’s difficult to be patient with myself sometimes because I want so much to be as skilled as them - and learning from them only fuels that fire! They are all great teachers in their own way; personable, encouraging, and truly want the students here to be successful and fulfilled. They give so much of their time and knowledge, and I will be forever thankful to FLOC and its generous donors. Without them, I wouldn’t be here… and being here changed everything for me.