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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.