Annmarie Kostyk

2011 Recipient

French Pastry School: What was your background previous to studying pastry and what led you to pursue an education in pastry?

 

Annmarie Kostyk: My professional experience was pretty limited before attending The French Pastry School.  I was hired with no experience as assistant pastry chef at Le Meridien Hotel in Chicago, not a Conrad Hotel.  The title did not make me a pastry chef, I still do not consider myself a pastry chef of any kind.  I got my foot in the door and got some experience. I learned how a professional kitchen operated.  I knew I loved it and wanted to continue to work in pastry.  There were lots of cookies to be made and scooped, but I also learned a lot of basics.

 

My love of food started when I was a child when I was lucky enough to go out to dinner with my parents a lot.  I was probably the only five year old who ordered a wedge of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese dressing, escargot, crab imperial, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, and crème brulée for dessert.  I have been a foodie as long as I can remember. My love for pastry, and most recently for cakes, came together with my art background and my need to express myself creatively. I knew I was in the right place when I was having class with Chef Joshua Johnson and he said something like, “Why can’t a cake be both beautiful and taste great?” That’s why I came to The French Pastry School’s L’Art du Gâteau program with help from For the Love of Chocolate Scholarship Foundation.  I want to make beautiful cakes that people will not only say how beautiful they are, but will remember the exquisite taste as well.

 

FPS: What was the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?

 

AK: The most surprising moment is when I realized that I will spend the rest of my life learning new techniques and mastering the ones that were taught to me. Sixteen weeks of studying, watching demos and trying my hand at what I was being taught only dips my small off-set in the tip of the bowl of royal icing. Practice, practice, practice.

 

FPS: What are you doing currently in pastry?

 

AK: I have been writing about chocolate for about six years now.  I graduated from Ecole Chocolat with a certificate as a Professional Chocolatier.  I have an agent in London, England that has been patiently waiting for a few proposals from me.  It has been pretty exciting for me over the past few months. The Chicago Field Museum approached me to sell two of my books in conjunction with their chocolate exhibit. You can buy them in their gift shop when you exit the exhibit.

 

I have been interning at the Union League Club of Chicago and will continue working there through the holidays.

 

I would like to slowly start working on building a wedding cake portfolio and I also have some plans to start producing some items on a wholesale level.

 

FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?

 

AK: I plan on continuing my education with short-term classes with The French Pastry School.  I also want to take classes with Chef Nicholas Lodge at his school, The International Sugar Arts Collection, in Atlanta, Georgia. I really enjoy making gumpaste flowers and want to learn as much as I can from him.  Over-piping and the gumpaste flowers are really where my passion has come into play.  Who knew?

 

Professionally, I plan on having an exclusive, by appointment only, wedding cake shop.  I also plan to continue writing and want to be established nationally with my wholesale product line.

 

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?

 

AK: I will remember how my class learned to work as a team and we really watched each other’s backs.  I will stay friends with the people that I have become very close too.  I will try to stay in contact with all of them.  I know down the line anyone in my class will be willing to lend a hand professionally for anyone when needed.

 

The most important thing I will carry with me from The French Pastry School is the feeling of family.  Everyone at the school knows your name, your background, and your dreams. They want to listen, help, and share.  The chef’s make you feel like they really care about you and they want to pass as much knowledge as they can on to you.  These relationships will not end when I walk out the door after graduation.  I know in my heart that I will keep coming back to The French Pastry School’s chefs and administrative staff throughout my pastry career.  They will always be there to help and have answers.  If they don’t have the answer for me, they will send me to someone that does have the answer.  It has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

 

Annmarie Kostyk: My professional experience was pretty limited before attending The French Pastry School.  I was hired with no experience as assistant pastry chef at Le Meridien Hotel in Chicago, not a Conrad Hotel.  The title did not make me a pastry chef, I still do not consider myself a pastry chef of any kind.  I got my foot in the door and got some experience. I learned how a professional kitchen operated.  I knew I loved it and wanted to continue to work in pastry.  There were lots of cookies to be made and scooped, but I also learned a lot of basics.

 

My love of food started when I was a child when I was lucky enough to go out to dinner with my parents a lot.  I was probably the only five year old who ordered a wedge of iceberg lettuce with bleu cheese dressing, escargot, crab imperial, a baked potato with butter and sour cream, and crème brulée for dessert.  I have been a foodie as long as I can remember. My love for pastry, and most recently for cakes, came together with my art background and my need to express myself creatively. I knew I was in the right place when I was having class with Chef Joshua Johnson and he said something like, “Why can’t a cake be both beautiful and taste great?” That’s why I came to The French Pastry School’s L’Art du Gâteau program with help from For the Love of Chocolate Scholarship Foundation.  I want to make beautiful cakes that people will not only say how beautiful they are, but will remember the exquisite taste as well.

 

FPS: What was the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?

 

AK: The most surprising moment is when I realized that I will spend the rest of my life learning new techniques and mastering the ones that were taught to me. Sixteen weeks of studying, watching demos and trying my hand at what I was being taught only dips my small off-set in the tip of the bowl of royal icing. Practice, practice, practice.

 

FPS: What are you doing currently in pastry?

 

AK: I have been writing about chocolate for about six years now.  I graduated from Ecole Chocolat with a certificate as a Professional Chocolatier.  I have an agent in London, England that has been patiently waiting for a few proposals from me.  It has been pretty exciting for me over the past few months. The Chicago Field Museum approached me to sell two of my books in conjunction with their chocolate exhibit. You can buy them in their gift shop when you exit the exhibit.

 

I have been interning at the Union League Club of Chicago and will continue working there through the holidays.

 

I would like to slowly start working on building a wedding cake portfolio and I also have some plans to start producing some items on a wholesale level.

 

FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?

 

AK: I plan on continuing my education with short-term classes with The French Pastry School.  I also want to take classes with Chef Nicholas Lodge at his school, The International Sugar Arts Collection, in Atlanta, Georgia. I really enjoy making gumpaste flowers and want to learn as much as I can from him.  Over-piping and the gumpaste flowers are really where my passion has come into play.  Who knew?

 

Professionally, I plan on having an exclusive, by appointment only, wedding cake shop.  I also plan to continue writing and want to be established nationally with my wholesale product line.

 

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?

 

AK: I will remember how my class learned to work as a team and we really watched each other’s backs.  I will stay friends with the people that I have become very close too.  I will try to stay in contact with all of them.  I know down the line anyone in my class will be willing to lend a hand professionally for anyone when needed.

 

The most important thing I will carry with me from The French Pastry School is the feeling of family.  Everyone at the school knows your name, your background, and your dreams. They want to listen, help, and share.  The chef’s make you feel like they really care about you and they want to pass as much knowledge as they can on to you.  These relationships will not end when I walk out the door after graduation.  I know in my heart that I will keep coming back to The French Pastry School’s chefs and administrative staff throughout my pastry career.  They will always be there to help and have answers.  If they don’t have the answer for me, they will send me to someone that does have the answer.  It has been the most rewarding experience of my life.