The French Pastry School |
December 31, 2013
L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau Students Graduate from The French Pastry School

Chicago, Illinois (December 31, 2013) – As the year 2013 winds down, over 80 students from The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at City Colleges of Chicago wind up for new careers and experiences in the world of all things sweet and baked. On December 20th, these new pastry professionals graduated from L'Art de la Pâtisserie, the 24-week Baking and Pastry Program,and L’Art du Gâteau, the 16-week Cake Decorating and Baking Program. The graduation ceremony was held at theUnion League Club of Chicago and included an address from Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, Co-Founder and Academic Dean for Student Affairs, and a commencement speech by Chief Operating Officer of Nielsen-Massey Vanillas, Matt Nielsen.  

Nielsen, along with his siblings Craig and Beth, is part of the third-generation in the Nielsen-Massey family business. He expressed that through his family business he has gained values, a strong work ethic, and confidence that have served him well. He linked this idea to the heritage students have received from The French Pastry School by expressing that it is essential to stay true to their foundation, strive for quality and be mindful of their legacy. “The legacy of The French Pastry School,” Nielsen explained, “will always be with you and gives you the launch pad from which you can grow from good to outstanding, from knowledgeable to an expert, from a chef to an artist.”  This, he encouraged, leads to reaching the motivating goal of having happy customers.

The most diverse group of students yet came from Scotland, Australia, India, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, China, Costa Rica, England, Singapore, Brazil and states near and far to experience the best in pastry education. During the term, which started in July, L'Art de la Pâtisserie students built a thorough foundation in the art of pastry and baking through hands-on practice under the mentorship of their chef instructors.

L’Art du Gâteau students began their journey in the art of cake baking, assembling, and decorating in September. The distinctive cakes they created as their final projects featured a wide-range of elements and represented the artistry they attained under the guidance of their chef instructors.

Graduates will be heading off to bakeries, restaurants, and hotels all over the country. St. Regis Hotel Miami Beach, Bin 36, and Norman Love Confections are just some of the businesses that will be welcoming new alumni to their teams. Some students who are looking to refine their skills before entering the workforce will continue their education by attending other full-time programs at The French Pastry School.

The experiences and reflections from this term were related to the audience by representatives, selected by their peers, from each of the graduating streams, or groups of students. Vineela Kolupti, Karen Collins, Christopher Knoll, and Marc Foster represented the L'Art de la Pâtisserie streams. Kristen Ostrowski and Ana Mihajlovic represented the L’Art du Gâteau streams. The speakers each noted how varied each of their groups had been but how, despite all the different backgrounds, they came together to be supportive and efficient teams. Included in the remarks was appreciation for the chefs and their infectious passion and dedication to their craft. “They taught us to focus, practice, and master the foundation,” said Karen Collins of Stream Two, “And with their guidance and inspiration we have all chosen to go down this path; mastering the art of pastry.”

After the ceremony, graduates had the chance to exhibit the mastery they have acquired to their friends and family. The buffet they created showcased the lessons that the students had learned: a striking nine-tiered cake centerpiece decorated with a swath of pink and peach roses, colorful mini-cakes (called petits gâteaux), bite-sized molded chocolates, composed plated desserts, towering chocolate and sugar showpieces, a gallery of vibrant wedding cakes, and an inviting display of golden brown breads and breakfast pastries.

The next cohort of L’Art de la Pâtisserie and L’Art du Gâteau students will begin their own pastry journey at The French Pastry School on January 6, 2014. Be sure to follow their progress on our website and social media outlets. The school is still accepting applications for both programs. For more information about the programs and how to apply, please contact or call 312.726.2419.