Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Meet Reynolds Culinary Arts Student

Sara Baker


What motivated you to study culinary arts?
I graduated from J. Sargeant Reynolds in 2010 with my Pastry Arts Career Study Certificate, but came back in 2016 to get my Associates Degree. The main reason I came back was to learn the business side of pastry and how to properly run a business. It was an added bonus to work alongside other like minded, passionate individuals who I enjoyed their company and have helped to re-inspire me. 

Where are you in your
culinary studies?

I’m at the last step in obtaining my degree which for me is finishing up my internship, which I’m currently doing at a bakery in Church Hill called Proper Pie Co. After I complete my internship it will be time for me to graduate with my Associates Degree in Pastry Arts. 

What are you working on now?
I’m essentially working thirty two hours at my internship and about thirty five plus hours at my regular job at Sweet Fix bakery. I’ve been working like crazy this past week because we are about to leave in a few days to film a cake competition on the Food Network that will air in December. It’s been a lot of sculpting, planning, armatures and long nights, but it is worth it for the overall experience.

What is your favorite task as a culinary student?
Surprisingly, my favorite task as a student was taking Cost Control. It was one of the hardest classes that I took at Reynolds but also one of the most useful ones too. Especially if you are looking to start your own business or help the one you work for right now get a better idea of how much ingredients really cost and how much you should be charging for dishes. I also like K.C.’s Food and Beverage Service Management class with Mr. Fixman too.  

What is your favorite ingredient?
I don’t have a favorite ingredient, but I do love the flavor of Rosewater and Grenadine mixed together in an Italian Meringue Buttercream and paired with Earl Grey Cake. I guess right now I’m really fond of using Bergamot extract in my desserts. 

Do you have a “signature dish”?
I haven’t made it in a long time, but I can make a mean tiramisu from scratch, which also happens to be one of my favorite desserts. I soaked the ladyfingers in Vincent Van Gogh Espresso Vodka and instant espresso. This gives it a good flavor without overpowering the dessert with the alcohol, which I personally think is unappetizing. 

What would you most like to do in culinary arts when you graduate?
The first thing I would like to do is another internship at Blackberry Farms located in Wallard, Tennessee for a few months. I’ve been thinking about moving to another state, but I think I would like to try working in an upscale hotel as a pastry cook so that I can further my growth and skill level.  

What is your favorite restaurant in Richmond?
I love food and I really like small hole in the wall type restaurants. I’m currently addicted to Nate’s Bagel’s located on Cary Street, the vermicelli rice noodle bowl from Pho So 1, and the Tuna option that they have at the Poke Bowl on Broad Street. I’m also a huge fan of Thai Top Ten on Grace Street and the Indian Restaurant called Lemon on Broad Street. 

What would you tell other potential students interested in studying culinary arts at Reynolds?
I would tell potential students that are interested in getting into this field to keep pushing yourself, never give up on your passion, practice and to find a good group of peers who help to keep you focused and motivated. Also, always stay humble and never compare yourself to other people. Learn and grow from your mistakes and failures. There is always something to be learned from everyone in the kitchen regardless of experience or skill level.