The French Pastry School: What was your background previous to pastry, and what led you to pursue a pastry education?
Bianca Blackburn: Prior to attending The French Pastry School I had very little experience in pastry. I spent six years in the Navy and during that time I only spent 3 months working in a galley on my first ship. However, I learned that baking a cake on a ship that’s rocking side to side isn’t a good thing. When I moved home and was deciding what to do, I fell in love with the idea of being a chef. I’ve always enjoyed cooking so why not?!
While I was taking a required pastry course my chef really opened my eyes to the world of doing pastries professionally. When I asked her about FPS, she was one of my biggest supporters in getting in. She still supports my pastry ups and downs, reminding me that I’m only humane and that even the best chefs make mistakes. She is the main reason I’m pursuing pastry, because of the first she lit in my belly to do this and succeed.
FPS: What has been the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
BB: I think the most surprising thing for me was how wonderful the chefs and faculty are. The chefs really takes the time to get to know you and take time to really help you if you are struggling. They kept the class so comfortable you weren’t afraid to ask for help. And everyone in the office is so wonderful and friendly! They take time to ask how I’m doing and how my son is and check to see how my studies are going. I love how much it feels like being part of a family.
FPS: What are your plans following graduation?
BB: After graduation, I plan on relocating to the East Coast with my son and looking into maybe starting my own small business. I love the idea of working in a busy tourist area and destination beach wedding spot. Someday I think I would really like to teach pastry and contribute my knowledge and skills to future pastry chefs.
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
BB: In five years, I see myself owning and operating a small but extremely successful cake and dessert business. I hope I am still living on the East Coast and still as passionate about pastries as I am today.
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?
BB: Looking back, I think I will always remember how scared I felt on my first day and how out of place I felt at first. However, I was lucky enough to have some great classmates who helped me realize there was no reason to be scared. I feel I’ve made some great friendships with some of the most intelligent and talented women I have ever met. I will miss our inside jokes that only we understood and I will miss watching everyone try new techniques, just like I was, but all of us still coming out with beautiful pieces of art. I will also miss my FPS family: the chefs, the administrative staff, and the interns. All have given me great advice that I will carry with me throughout my career.