In another segment of New Perspectives, I arranged a meeting with Kenzie Cole, another graduate of the Pastry Program at Auguste Escoffier and former classmate of mine. Kenzie was the class’s artistic guru, often the go-to for questions about color, style, and presentation ideas. While she’s too humble to agree, she’s one of the most talented artists I’ve met in a long time, as well as a good friend and an interesting person all around.
Why did you get into the Pastry Arts?
I have always been artistic; I grew up going to art-based schools, so I knew I would do art in some fashion as a career. I started baking cakes four years ago and I just had a knack for it and it became my passion. I knew I had to learn more and pastry school was where I needed to go!
What made you pick Escoffier?
I have lived in Colorado all my life and was currently attending college in Fort Collins. All my friends and family were here and I knew I didn’t want to go far from them. I also liked that the program was accelerated so I could start a career much faster then a two or four year program.
What was your favorite part of Pastry School?
My favorite part of school honestly was the tests and practical [exams]. That probably sounds weird but it really showed me how much I was actually learning, and gave me the confidence to keep going!
What was your least favorite part of Pastry School?
I can’t even think of anything really. I loved it all! Oh except eating EVERYTHING, I definitely could have done without that.
What have you been up to since finishing the program?
Since finishing school I moved back to my hometown of Carbondale, CO. I got a job at a wedding cake studio in Aspen, CO. I have been learning so much about the wedding industry, which is exactly what I wanted!
What are your plans for the future?
My future plans are to start my own wedding cake company someday. I would like to work for some companies a little longer and further perfect my skills. This fall I plan to take sugar flower classes, I would love it if that were my specialty.
Many students stress about finding an externship. Any advice?
Don’t stress but don’t be lazy either. Put your name out there as much as possible, but don’t set your heart on one thing. Stay open to the possibilities. When I was looking for an externship I found what I was really interested in, but I needed more hours in order to fill the hour requirement in the given time. I was able to find another opportunity in a line of work that wasn’t exactly the same path I was looking for—I was doing a lot of dinner prep for a restaurant, and really had no idea what I was doing. But I learned a lot of things I wouldn’t have otherwise, and had fun with it!
What’s your favorite thing to make?
My favorite thing to make is Italian buttercream to be honest. It’s always kind of unpredictable and nerve wracking, but then when it comes together it is so exciting for me, every time!
Do you have any cool class stories to share?
I think the coolest part about our class was when we were able to all sit down and tell our life stories and really understand where we all came from. It was a really cool experience! Thanks Chef Kelly.
What advice do you have to share with future students?
Do the homework, I promise it does help! Having to sit down and write the recipes will just help you understand them more and be more successful!
I confess that I Facebook-stalk Kenzie from time to time in order to see the latest amazing wedding cakes she’s been making. She truly is an amazing talent, and it was fun talking to her again. I wish her nothing but the best in the future!