EO: How did it make you a better baker?
KW: Actually the time, commitment, discipline and compassion in my quest to complete the course made me a better baker in addition to Chef Susie’s kindness and availability.
EO: Why did you want to open a bakery?
KW: I’m a people person and wanted to move into a sweeter world of making people smile and feel happy.
EO: Tell us about starting your business.
KW: It’s a lot of work; actually it’s a tremendous amount of work. It takes lots of time, commitment, discipline, research, studying, going to workshops, networking, practicing and more. Preparing to open up a bakery solo is the real test and you either have the passion or you don’t. The preparation can break you or make you because there are countless hours of work. I took an earlier retirement from my 23 years of nursing to begin my quest. I planned to open a bakery five years ago, prayed on it and attained what it took for me to do to make it happen. Exploding Desserts LLC is a specialty bakery, incorporating all of what I’ve learned from Escoffier and then some.
EO: What do you look forward to most with the future of your business?
KW: First, teaching customers, staff, students and interns about food safety, sugar, gluten, Celiac disease, overall health, diet and exercise and the “whys and the why nots.” For the students and interns I also look forward to teaching them management skills and how to be an entrepreneur. Second, opening up a few more bakeries so I can give more new bakery/pastry graduates jobs with the opportunity to grow and eventually run it on their own.
EO: What are your favorite pastries to make?
KW: Canelé de Bordeaux is my No. 1 French dessert. It makes people sink down in their chairs after just one bite. I love making puff pastries. Nearly all my danishes, like kimmabuns (cinnamon rolls), croissants, coffee cakes and some donuts are made with puff-pastry dough. My first time making it as one of my lessons, it took me eight hours! I was calling Chef Susie completely frustrated, but her calmness relaxed me and helped me through it. And last but not least is my pâte à choux. (I still make it by hand.) The swans and èclairs I make just melt in your mouth and my filling is so light you can eat and eat and eat and it feels like you haven’t eaten a thing.
EO: What is the No. 1 ingredient you have to have in your kitchen at all times?
EO: Complete this sentence: Pastry isn’t pastry without…
KW: Flour and fat. Without flour the term pastry is nonexistent.
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