Keep Calm and Bake On
Culinary Arts grad and Executive Chef Emily Perrault finds challenge—and comfort—in new Baking & Pastry Management associate degree
For Emily Perrault, baking is therapy.
“Baking just calms me down,” she says. “When I want to have a calming part of my day or week, I find something to bake.”
So in 2021 when she was graduating from the FVTC Culinary Arts program and she heard about the new Baking & Pastry Management program coming soon, she was thrilled.
“I’ve been looking forward to these classes since they announced the program,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh, a chocolate class? Another cake class? Yes!’ It really got me thinking that maybe one day I could be a baker or have a side gig.”
These new skills are being added to Emily’s already impressive resume. Not only has she earned an associate degree in Culinary Arts, she has also completed the FVTC Hospitality Management associate degree and the Baking & Pastry Production technical diploma.
And at just 22 years old, she is an executive chef at a local supper club, fulfilling the first career goal she set for herself. In May 2022, Emily took over the kitchen at Krabbe’s Kountry Klub in Seymour. “I make sure the kitchen is flowing smoothly,” she says. “I do everything from menu planning to taking inventory to placing orders, calling my reps, cooking meal service, and doing all the prep.” She also oversees the work of the waitstaff and the dishwashers and helps out with front-of-the-house tasks.
She loves the work. But it keeps her busy, and when she has downtime, Emily bakes. So she has set a new goal for herself: to have her own baking business on the side. She is taking classes one at a time while working full-time.
Emily first learned about Fox Valley Technical College’s Culinary Arts program as a Pulaski High School student participating in culinary competition events. She got to know the instructors, and was impressed by the program’s reputation as being well-established and highly regarded in the industry.
Once enrolled, she realized that what she appreciated most was the community aspect. “It’s like a small family here,” Emily says. “The instructors really want you to be involved and make sure you’re not just going it alone.”
“Emily is a superstar!” says Pastry/Culinary Instructor Jen McClure. “She’s inquisitive and always ready to learn, wanting to master whatever we offer her in class. It will be sad to see her go when we run out of classes to offer her. Between Baking and Pastry, Culinary, and Hospitality Management, it’s her goal to take every single one of them.”
“I love school!” says Emily. “I just keep coming back. And coming back and coming back.”
FVTC Kitchen Renovations Planned
Starting in summer 2023, work will begin to upgrade the FVTC culinary arts kitchen. The multi-year remodel will happen in phases, with phase one adding another state-of-the-art baking lab, allowing us to meet the space needs of the Baking & Pastry Management degree and offer additional courses in baking production, chocolate and healthy baking.
Remodeling will continue into 2024 and 2025 with many more upgrades to come. Stay tuned!
Employment of chefs is projected to grow 15% by 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics