An Interview with a … Baker! Allison Galentine

Some of you know, I bake, as part of my weekly or sometimes monthly routine. I lean towards the sweet stuff, but on occasion can make a quiche. I also like to try gluten free or even strange combinations [like Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookies!] In today’s post, I wanted to feature someone who can do it all, Allison Galentine. She previously worked at Caviar and Bananas, but is now at Charleston Bakery.

I first met Allison, at a CupcakeCamp Charleston event through my sister Heather [who organizes CupcakeCamp Charleston and Summerville].  The following “Camps”, Allison kept winning. We’ve had four CupcakeCamp Charleston events and two Summerville ones. She’s placed in almost all of them, because in one of them, she was a judge! Mind you, every year, is a different panel of judges. All these random judges have loved what she’s done. It was after one of the first Camps, Heather [wisely] remained in contact with Allison in order to place orders from her. She specializes in all sorts of pastries: birthday cakes, birthday cupcakes, 10-year work reunion cupcakes (Heather surprised me with Red Velvet ones!), pies, themed desserts, etc.].

Because of my love for baked goods and recognizing and uplifting talent when I experience it, I decided to feature her in today’s blog. I want to recognize Allison’s creativity, work ethic and talent behind her delicious concoctions. Below are some questions I asked her, as well as some photos of what she has created.

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When did you discover your knack for baking?

In high school I took vocational classes (leave campus to learn a trade), and I decided to take culinary arts. During the semester my teacher had us enter us either a savory or sweet category for a cooking contest at the fair. I made a simple 3 layer, chocolate cherry cake and when I brought it into class my classmates and teacher were impressed. So anyhow, entered into the fair and actually won first place! I couldn’t believe it, it was my first cake I attempted to assemble and bake on my own and I won.

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How did you decide to go into the culinary arts field?

I always teeter tottered between being a vet or a chef, as strange as that is save animals or cook animals. However, I always helped my mom out cook dinner for the family and did not mind doing it at all. After my vocational classes in high school, I just knew that culinary arts was my calling.

How do you stay creative in your field?

I like to go to other bakeries and read cook books, see what other chefs are doing. I have several friends that are pastry chefs as well and we are always texting each other our creations of the day.  

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What inspires you, at work/at home?

Fresh seasonal ingredients! Especially during spring time, all those lovely fresh berries are amazing. I have a blueberry bush at home, and I am working on growing peach trees.

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Who do you follow, in your field? Any role models? 

I love Alton Brown, even though he is not a pastry chef. The show Good Eats and how he explained food science was just incredible.

Who was your favorite client to work for? What was the project? 

Right now I am working with a couple for their wedding in May. He loves the Game Cocks and being the loving understanding wife she is; she is letting him incorporate it into the wedding. I think we have decided on a 3 tiered Red Velvet Cake (more burgundy colored), white buttercream, black ribbon, burgundy calla lilies, and some feathers. I cannot wait to make this cake; I have a feeling it is going to look awesome.

What are you currently working on?

Christmas time desserts… Babka (Jewish fruit cake), Truffles, Sugar Cookies, Peppermint Chocolate Mousse Pie, all sorts off delicious pastries!

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What other creative concoctions, do you want to try next?

I make Babka for work, but my family being German has their own version of fruit cake called Stollen. My Mom and Grandma always got one filled with marzipan and candied fruits, I would love to make them a homemade one.

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What do you want to learn in your field next and why?

Hmmm… maybe molecular gastronomy. It is so neat, how you can take an edible chemical and turn an ingredient into something completely different. One of the few molecular gastronomy ingredients I know how to work with is maltodextrin; it turn liquids into powder!

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Do you want to open your own shop one day or do you like working for others?

I would love love love to have my own shop one day. I have often dreamed of buying the antique shop on the corner of downtown Summerville and the apartment above it. I think that would be the most absolute perfect place for a bakery and living upstairs will allow me to be there whenever I needed to be in a quickness.  

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Got any tips for working as a professional baker?

Get internships, sometimes they are not paid but you can learn a lot working under other experienced chefs. Also get involved with local baking events, such as Cupcake Camp so you can meet and talk to other bakers.

Are you available for custom orders? If so, how can we reach you?

Always! I like to be challenged with new and interesting cake orders or desserts people come up with.

Here is Charleston Bakery‘s number and location: 10596 Dorchester Road, Summerville. (843) 875.0630 

Also I can always be reached at (843) 814.3816; I often do not pick up my phone, but I always call back so just leave me a voicemail.

Aprons from Haute Mess Threads

Since CupcakeCamp Charleston is tomorrow, I wanted to share this Etsy shop called Haute Mess Threads. They have these amazing pin-up style aprons. Unfortunately, I won’t be donning either of them, as I couldn’t decide between my two favorite ones below.

Star Trek Haute Mess Threads apron

Star Trek Haute Mess Threads apron

Star Trek Haute Mess Threads Wonder Woman apron

Star Trek Haute Mess Threads Wonder Woman apron

Instead I’ll be wearing a Star Trek “Expendable” shirt.

CupcakeCamp Charleston

CupcakeCamp Charleston

CupcakeCamp Charleston Flyer

I forgot to upload the poster that I worked on for this year’s CupcakeCamp Charleston. It’s this Sunday, November 10th from 3 to 5 pm, at the Alley, 130 Columbus Street, Charleston, SC. It’s a FREE foodie event and all monetary donations will go to this year’s selected charity: South Carolina Advocate Program. We actually had a few more sponsors that aren’t featured here, but they are at CupcakeCamp‘s Sponsors page.

For the design, I decided to go with an actual bowling cupcake that I found from these awesome bakers, Pink Cake Box from Denville, New Jersey. I wanted to keep the focus on the cupcake, so I found a free vintage illustration of a female bowler [of course] illustrated in black and white. I wanted to keep the font vintage too, and used good ol’ Courier [hey, at least it wasn’t Papyrus or Comic Sans!].

Since I’m a sponsor this year [3+ years running], I decided to go with an actual theme this year. I am baking “Star Trek” cupcakes. I’m not a fondant fan [taste or creation], so I decided to buy a Star Trek ice cube tray from ThinkGeek to make dark chocolate toppers. These Star Trek chocolate toppers will be placed over Vanilla, Nutella or Buttercream frosting. Time permitting, I will try to incorporate TNG [that’s The Next Generation, for you non-Trekkies], TOS [The Original Series] or VOY [Voyager] paper toppers [that I will design with (hopefully) fun catch phrases].  I will definitely be posting pics on my Twitter feed and on here as well.

For those of you local CHS folks, I hope to see you this Sunday! Please keep in mind that the Alley does not have a very big parking lot. And, even though parking is free on Sundays, remember it’s still downtown Charleston and it can be limited. However, the Post and Courier are gracious enough to let the Alley use their parking lot, which is conveniently across the street from each other.

New Favorite Artist // Meghan Murphy

MeghanMurphy_cupcake

I stumbled on this artist Meghan Murphy a few weeks ago. I can’t remember how [don’t you hate that?]. I love that her style is cute AND weird. She also runs a bi-weekly webcomic called KawaiiNot. In the spirit of CupcakeCamp Charleston next week, above is a sample of one of her illustrations I wanted to share [she sells it as a t-shirt or as wall-art]. More info on CupcakeCamp Charleston in tomorrow’s post!