Jennie graduated from Maine Coast Waldorf School in 2019 and is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Pastry and Baking Arts from Johnson and Wales University. In addition to her studies, Jennie founded her own company, Baked-Well Treats, specializing in one-of-a-kind cookies, cakes, and other confections. Last week I had the opportunity to chat with this young entrepreneur about how her Waldorf education prepared her for a career in the culinary field.
What inspired you to go to culinary school?
My love for baking pastries started around ninth grade when I made a cheesecake for the high school. The response was that it tasted wonderful and they loved it! To be able to bring people joy through baking made me want to further my education and learn more about baking pastries within the professional world.
Did your education or experience at Maine Coast Waldorf influence your decision to pursue this type of career?
Yes, when I first came to Maine Coast in sixth grade, I was very shy and introverted. This may sound silly but the skills I learned through being on stage in the plays taught me to speak in front of people and have a voice. This made me more confident in choosing a career in this industry. During my junior year I had an internship at Wildflour Bakery in Brunswick; this is where I started to learn about the industry. I had never worked in a bakery before so this was a great first experience. This also became a starting point for my senior project; writing a children’s book.
What is the book about?
For my senior project, I wrote and illustrated The Backflip Baker, a children’s book that combined my love for gymnastics and travel with my love for baking. The story is about a little girl named Bean who travels to Paris with her grandmother and learns how to bake. The title, Backflip Baker, was actually the first name I considered for my business. I’ve just recently started thinking about writing a sequel.
How do you find the time to balance your school work, your business, and writing a book?
(laughing) It can be challenging but I just remember to breathe – it will all get done. This past October I completed a pastry chef internship at the Dolphin Marina and Restaurant in Harpswell. This really helped me learn how to manage my time.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of starting their own business or going to culinary school?
If you’re hesitant, just go for it! There is nothing wrong with failing or starting something and then realizing it’s not for you. You have your whole life ahead of you – do what makes you happy. You’ll learn that the most supportive people are those with similar interests. When you’re having difficult times or if you are down, those are the people that you can lean on. Wherever you go or whatever you choose to do, there will be people to support you. Follow your dreams.
What is your favorite thing to make? Do you have a favorite Holiday treat?
I love making cookies, especially the decorated sugar cookies. There is so much you can do. I love trying out different techniques and getting better with my writing skills. It’s so fun to find the perfect royal icing recipe; you just want it to flow onto the cookie and harden to the perfect crunch and sweetness. When I think of the Holidays, I remember these little maple sugar candies that my mom would always make. Working from her recipe, I’ve added some things, made some changes, and am making it my own.