Jake on the Job: Becoming a Chicago pastry chef

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - It’s a profession that lies at the crossroads of taught skill and natural creativity. The treasues are the result of rigid precious and a natural flair for the artistic.

It’s the sort of job that looks simple on the surface – but is complicated beyond measure.

Pastry chefs – they’re artists whose work you can eat.

So FOX 32's Jake Hamilton went on the job at Vanille in Lincoln Park to craft some culinary creations that will blow your mind – and your mouth! 

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

It’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true for Sophie Evanoff, the president and owner of Vanille Patisserie. She’s an artist with literal taste for the craft – and while culinary schools may lay the sugary foundation for pastry chefs, she knows that real life kitchen experience corrects the most common misconception people have about the profession.

She wasn’t kidding – the mini passion fruit tarts might  look simple enough, but they’re deliciously complicated.
And what little cooking skills Jake possesses gave him no help when it came to the macaroons.

Stacey Waldrop, the executive pastry chef at Vanille, is often responsible for churning out thousands of these a day. Which means that speed is just as important as skill.

Though nothing could prepare Jake for the disaster that awaited with the cakes. It’s the one skill that even others in the kitchen admit they hadn’t mastered: Icing a cake.

Chandra Pridgeon is Vanille’s cake designer.

From slathering the butter cream, to attempting to cover Jake's disaster with a sprinkled distraction, cake designing is a skill that makes her one of the most talented – and patient – people in Vanille’s kitchen.

There’s nothing sweet about buckling under pressure, which is exactly why, after a long day, the kitchen breaks out into a dance party.

Pastry chef: Part scientist, part artist, part cook. It looks easy, and that’s the point.