Previous to her life in pastry, Chelsey worked in the finance sector, and around the time that she realized finance was not her calling, she started “baking like a madwoman” at home. While experimenting and creating sweet items for friends and family, Chelsey also took part in amateur competitions through Pastry Chicago and won first place in the 2009 Pastry Chicago Amateur Pie Competition with her Black Raspberry Apple Pie. After acquainting herself with the educational offerings of The French Pastry School, Chelsey came in for a French Pastry Experience, and later enrolled in the January, 2010 session of L’Art de la Pâtisserie.
While a student in the six-month program, Chelsey loved experiencing the variety in subject matter, going from one topic to the next and discovering a newfound interest in each, whether it was breads, petits fours, cakes, chocolate candies, or ice cream. “Every topic was fascinating, and it was exciting to make so many discoveries with each new segment,” said Chelsey. “I was always surprised at how much I learned, and what I was able to accomplish each day.” Although she relished every subject, her favorite desserts to learn to make (and eat), were mousse cakes. Entremets were “a whole new thing” to her. She was astonished at the whole process: the planning that went into the different individual layers, the artistic consideration given to each, how the tastes and textures came together as a whole, and how using all her senses played a key role in creating a balanced dessert.
Chelsey appreciated being able to pursue her passion every day, and feeling excited about the new opportunities that lay ahead. Reflecting on her path which led her to pastry, she said,
“I realized that some people really do love their jobs. Some people go after their dreams and achieve them, and now that’s going to be me.”
After graduating, Chelsey remained with The French Pastry School team for an additional six months as a full-time Graduate Intern Assistant where she assisted the Chef Instructors and students in L’Art de la Pâtisserie program. She also assisted visiting chefs who taught master classes in the Continuing Education program. Currently, Chelsey is working in the pastry department at The Peninsula Chicago Hotel.