The French Pastry School: What was your background previous to pastry, and what led you to pursue a pastry education?
Melanie Faetz: Prior to enrolling at The French Pastry School, I was working as a writer and editor for an Internet marketing company, focusing mainly on food-related content. Though there were plenty of aspects of my job that I enjoyed, after about three years, I could no longer ignore my nagging desire to go to pastry school. I knew that pastry would give me the opportunity to be creative in a hands-on way, which was something I had deeply craved, yet not been able to integrate into my daily life, since receiving my BFA in fine art in 2009.
FPS: What has been the most surprising or eye-opening moment for you so far in the program?
MF: I always expected school to be challenging, but some of the specific challenges have taken me by surprise. For example, I didn’t think that keeping an orderly work station would be hard for me – I’m sort of a clean freak in real life. But being an organized person at home is different than being an organized person in the kitchen; everything is amplified in the kitchen. You can’t just be organized; you need to be able to stay organized while working fast. And you can’t just move fast; you need to move fast and with precision. There are always hundreds of things to think about in the kitchen, and neglecting one detail will impact the others.
FPS: What are your plans following graduation?
MF: Shortly after graduation I will begin a six-month internship at The French Pastry School. I’m excited about the opportunity to continue to work with FPS chefs, hone my skills, and develop plans for achieving my future goals.
FPS: Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you hope to be?
MF: In five years, I hope to own my own business or at least be laying plans for my own business. Entering into The French Pastry School, my long-term dream was to someday open an ice cream shop. At this point, nothing I’ve learned has fully changed that goal, although I’m definitely open to it changing as I continue to experience new things. I just want to follow opportunities that challenge and delight me.
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?
MF: The chefs telling stories during demo. Feeling like a true team with my classmates. The sad, sad day when my croissants turned out miserably. The glorious day when my croissants turned out beautifully. Getting to share my creations with family and friends.