Meet our experts: Master Pastry Chef Jenniffer Bell
Jenniffer Bell is an expert in all things sweet. She creates spectacular pastries, delicious cakes and some of the most beautiful, trending wedding cakes around.
Q: What do you do at Lunds and Byerly’s?
A: I’m a master pastry chef at our Byerly’s Maple Grove store. I create almost every wedding cake coming from our store, produce fresh pastries for our customers and train all apprentice chefs in the company.
I’m here to help my customers! I’m not only behind our bakery counter, I’m in front of the counter talking about our latest pastry or cupcake creation, providing baking tips or helping a customer choose the perfect sweet treat to pair with their meal. I’ve been with the company for 20 years and know our products backward and forward.
Q: What does it mean to train our future pastry chefs?
A: I enjoy the opportunity to train all apprentice pastry chefs in our company. I’ll typically have two or three apprentices to train at any given time, and I work with them on everything from creating ganache and torts to pastry creams and wedding cakes.
Whether it’s a customer or apprentice, I love helping people learn new things.
Q: How do you create such beautiful wedding cakes?
A: It’s all about getting to know the bride, groom and their wedding! Wedding cakes are such a personalized centerpiece of a wedding and it’s important to get the design just right. With my team’s help, I created 40 wedding cakes just this past year alone.
For each cake, I set up a consultation with the couple in our store. We’ll talk about their big day, sample different cake options and determine what my team can do to make their cake exactly what they want.
For the most part, brides have a pretty good idea of what they want; social media has been very helpful in providing them endless photos for inspiration. If a customer wants more assistance with the look of their cake, we’ll look through photos and come up with something spectacular together.
Q: What’s your background?
A: I completed the Dunwoody College baking program. I then moved to Colorado and worked for Safeway (grocery store chain) as a cake decorator and bakery manager. I came home a few years later after missing my family too much and applied as a cake decorator at Byerly’s. I’ve been working my way up ever since. Wanting to grow my expertise even more, I went through our pastry chef and master pastry chef programs. Our master pastry chef program is no joke! I had to write a dissertation, train my peers, take all kinds of classes, and create, manufacture and sell my own pastry creation. Whew! I’m proud to be one of five master pastry chefs throughout our company.
Q: What do you like most about working with cakes and pastries?
A: My favorite part of my job is being creative by crafting something completely new and different. There’s so much variety in the baking world – I’m doing something different every day. It’s always changing. I especially love to create beautiful 3-D cakes; they’re very popular with our customers and are a challenging yet fun project.
Though I love the creativity behind making cakes, I really love to see the look on a customer’s face when they come in and pick up their product – the look of pure joy on their face is priceless, especially when it’s more than what they were expecting.
Q: What are the current trends you see for your area?
A: It seems like more people want smaller-sized pastries. Our petite pastries are very popular. Using more flavors and textures is also a big pastry trend. In the cake world, cupcakes are a big wedding trend. Three-dimensional cakes are big as well. Customers see these 3-D cakes on food shows or online and want something different they can’t get anywhere else.