French Pastry School: What was your background previous to pastry, and what led you to pursue a pastry education?
Ian Gustafson: Before starting in the pastry industry I received my Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communication from Augustana College. Then I worked in retail as a manager before applying and starting at the French Pastry School. I had always had an interest and love for baking and found myself doing so in whatever spare time I had. It came to a point where I wanted to know more and decided that the timing was right for me to expand my knowledge and begin a new career.
FPS: What has been the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
IG: The most eye-opening moment for me in the program was seeing how my ideas of what pastry are and what they can be were changed. I went into the program with a set of ideas of what I was going to learn and quickly realizing I was going to develop a new set of skills and a complete new way of thinking about food.
FPS: What are your plans following graduation?
IG: After graduation I will be working as the Pastry Intern for The James Hotel and David Burke’s Primehouse. I will be working on expanding my knowledge in pastry while learning about hotel and restaurant dining.
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
IG: In five years I will probably still be in Chicago with my own business. I hope to be successful in whatever area of this community I’m in at the time.
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?
IG: I will remember all of the Chef’s the most and their dedication and inspiration. They passed that along with their wisdom and it really lit a fire in me to learn more and to strive to be better. I also will remember my classmates and the time we all spent together going through the program and the friendships that were formed.