Friday, February 4, 2011

French Pastry School Makes History at Graduation Ceremony

The graduation celebration in late December 2010 honored not one, but two full-time programs’ graduates of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago. More than 400 attendees including friends, family, faculty, staff and newly minted alumni celebrated the conclusion of the programs at the Union League Club of Chicago. Seventy-two students in L’Art de la Pâtisserie – The Professional Pastry and Baking Program, and 36 in L’Art du Gâteau – The Professional Cake Decorating and Baking Program completed their six- and four-month terms, respectively. This graduation also applauded the inaugural class of L’Art du Gâteau.

Many of the recent graduates will relocate across the country, from New York to Las Vegas to California, while others will stay in Chicago to work in pastry kitchens in highly regarded establishments like Blackbird/avec restaurants under Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy, fellow alumnus. Some will go to new pastry hubs such as Ann Arbor, Michigan’s Cake Nouveau, owned by another fellow alumna, Courtney Clark. Several graduates, who have completed one certificate program, will enroll in the other and continue their education working toward a second certificate. 
Guest speaker at the ceremony, Chef Gina Hartwig, co-owner of Lovely: a Bake Shop and Bakin’ & Eggs, and also a graduate of the July 2006 class of L’Art de la Pâtisserie, addressed the students and attendees. From the perspective of a successful career changer, she told the story of building her businesses following her experience as a student and intern at The French Pastry School. Hartwig advised the graduates, many of whom also have dreams of one day creating their own businesses, to “overcome the unknown. If you wait until you think you know everything, you’ll never move forward. … Harness all that you have learned,” she said, “and take risks.”
The ceremony was followed by a grand buffet at the school, showcasing the graduates’ newly acquired skills. New sessions for both programs began on January 3, 2011.