Pastry was something that Sophia had always enjoyed doing, as well as being something that was challenging to her. Previous to enrolling in L'Art de la Pâtisserie at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago in January, 2009, she attended the University of Michigan and earned her Bachelor's degree in psychology. She also took pastry courses at Oakland Community College and came to The French Pastry School having some basic food, retail, and production knowledge.
Originally from Troy, Michigan, Sophia stayed in Chicago to after completing L'Art de la Pâtisserie and found work in candy and confectionery. Sophia said she had never made candy prior to the program and found this both the most challenging part of the program and the most fun. Sophia discovered that she enjoyed the precision in candy making. "Temperature and timing are so important. You have to be exact" or you have to do it over again, which she did, each time improving her skill and understanding of ingredients. With each new topic of pastry, baking, or confectionery Sophia approached in the 24-week program, she realized how much more she still had to learn.
"The six-month experience has given me a great foundation, and an understanding of what to expect in the industry."
The most important thing Sophia felt she gained in the program was discipline, a necessary quality to break all her old "bad habits". The six-month experience "gave [her] a great foundation, and an understanding of what to expect in the industry." She acquired more complete knowledge of the product, a profound respect for her chef instructors, and the assurance that the chefs wanted her to get the most out of her experience.
Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, co-founder of The French Pastry School, left a big impression on Sophia. He paid "extremely close attention to everyone and was so honest with each student." Sophia felt that he imparted essential and practical knowledge "that you're not going to find anywhere else."
Sophia graduated from The French Pastry School in June, 2009 and is currently employed at Chocolate Potpourri in Glenview, Illinois.