Monthly Archives: November 2011

Culinary Corner: An interview with Pastry Chef Amanda Burgess of Sweet Escape Bakery

Sweet Escape Bakery is the vision of Owner and Pastry Chef Amanda Burgess, who is yet another talented culinary artist making our upcoming Gingerbread Benefit a success. I’ll warn you ahead of time that she’s a little mysterious in her interview–I simply can’t imagine what her Gingerbread house will look like, but I know it will be absolutely amazing! Wanna chance to check out Burgess’ creation? Be sure to purchase your tickets TODAY.

 

Sweet Escape Bakery's Owner and Pastry Chef Amanda Burgess

What or who inspired you to become a pastry chef? I have always loved baking and creating.

When you start a project do you have a vision or goal in mind, or do you figure it out as you go? I generally have some level of a vision to begin with and then it’s a work in progress.

What are your three favorite ingredients to work with?  Chocolate, fondant and more chocolate!

What will the inspiration for your gingerbread house be? I’m planning to do something around a child’s view of the Christmas spectacle.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a pastry chef? I would say that one of the bigger challenges is taking someone’s vision and bringing it to reality.

When do you feel most rewarded for your work? I feel most rewarded when I see a client’s face and know I’ve exceeded their expectations.

 

The 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit is to be held on December 1, 2011 at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Tickets for the event are available online at https://tfsnc.org/index.php/gingerbread-benefit/purchase-tickets-online

Buy now–before the event sells out!

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Culinary Corner: An interview with Chef Ilya Koltusky of Sweet Loralee Pastries

Each year, the Gingerbread Benefit gives area pastry chefs an opportunity to share their creative gingerbread masterpieces with our event attendees. It’s interesting to see the various shapes, sizes and forms the gingerbread houses take on–indicating the sheer genius and vision of their creators. Pastry Chef Ilya Koltusky of Sweet Loralee Pastries uses his Ukranian heritage as inspiration to create his gingerbread Byzantine church. I can’t wait to see what it looks like!

Chef Ilya Koltusky of Sweet Loralee Pastries

What or who inspired you to become a pastry chef? Who do you look up to in the field? I have wanted to be a pastry chef ever since 1968 when I walked into the Minnedosa Bakery in Minnedosa, Manitoba, Canada with my mother who took me there after a dental appointment for a raspberry filled donut. I also think Julia Child, Jacques Pepin and Martha Stewart are some of America’s best bakers.

What will the inspiration for your gingerbread house be?  I want to do a Byzantine style church (my heritage is Ukrainian) and use the domed churches that I grew up with on the prairies as inspiration. I have a computer whiz making the templates (the son of my assistant). I love rolling out the gingerbread dough by hand.  I always look forward to making it as we only make it during the Holidays.  By the end of the Holiday season I don’t want to see it again for another year. I usually hot sugar the pieces together so the structure becomes sturdier.  You have to work quickly to do this.

What is your favorite ingredient to work with? One favorite ingredient would be meringue.

When do you feel most rewarded for your work? I feel most rewarded for my work when someone comes into my shop telling me that the cake they ordered for their recent birthday was the best they ever had.

The 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit is to be held on December 1, 2011 at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Tickets for the event are available online at https://tfsnc.org/index.php/gingerbread-benefit/purchase-tickets-online

Buy now–before the event sells out!

Check us out on Facebook!

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Triangle Family Services on ABC11

Last Sunday ABC11 aired an interview with CEO Alice Lutz and Board Chair Robin Costello where they talked about Triangle Family Services and the 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit that is taking place on December 1st. Below is the link please watch.

http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/video?id=8425064

 

 

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Culinary Corner: An interview with Pastry Chef Sherry Stolfo of the Chef’s Academy

Chef Sherry Stolfo is a Pastry Chef instructor at the Chef’s Academy, an accredited culinary school located in Morrisville NC. Stolfo is using our Gingerbread Benefit as a learning opportunity and is collaborating with her students to plan their gingerbread house for our Gingerbread Benefit. I can’t wait to see what they come up with!

Chef Sherry Stolfo of the Chef's Academy

What or who inspired you to become a pastry chef?  My Father – I followed in his footsteps – 2nd generation Pastry Chef. My Father, Rinaldo Stolfo, is 80 years old and still works in his bakery that he opened over 50 years ago. Now that’s passion!!

When you start a project do you have a vision or goal in mind, or do you figure it out as you go? I always have a vision, the path may change a bit by the time I’m done, but I always start with a plan and visualize what I am trying to accomplish!!

What are your three favorite ingredients to work with?   Sugar, cream and eggs

What will the inspiration for your gingerbread house be? If you’re unsure, how will you plan and prepare for the Gingerbread Benefit?  This will be a class project for my Pastry students, we will collaborate and come up with a plan.

What are the most challenging aspects of being a pastry chef?  Balancing work and family and the weather!

When do you feel most rewarded for your work?  When it is appreciated and enjoyed by others.

The 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit is to be held on December 1, 2011 at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Tickets for the event are available online at https://tfsnc.org/index.php/gingerbread-benefit/purchase-tickets-online

Buy now–before the event sells out!

Check us out on Facebook!

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Culinary Corner: An interview with Pastry Chef Lorie Murray of Simply Cakes

I can already smell the fresh baked gingerbread after  reading this interview with Chef Lorie Murray of Simply Cakes. It’s clear that Murray is truly passionate about her career and seems just as excited about our Gingerbread Benefit as we are! We feel so lucky to have her participating this year and I personally can’t wait to see her Raleigh-inspired gingerbread shops!

Pastry Chef Lorie Murray of Simply Cakes

What or who inspired you to become a pastry chef? I grew up in a family of foodies, before anyone knew what foodies were!  My step mother was my main influence in culinary growing up.  She and her mom had a catering business and they would make these wonderful meals, and deserts. Christmas time was a joy, with homemade candies, cookies, gingerbread, and these wonderful holiday meals!  I also loved to paint and sculpt. So I decided to go to college to learn design.  I also discovered while I was raising my own family, my love for cooking and baking continued.  When I would have dinner parties, I would spend hours planning my plating designs using my art skills and love of cooking combined.  My friends often told me that this loved showed through in my food.  I took a couple of college courses and classes with famous cake decorators because I was fascinated by the sculpted side of cake decorating.  I found I could combine both my love of art and cooking into one.  To this day, I still find myself spending hours planning cakes and dreaming up new methods!

Who do you look up to in the field? Nicholas Lodge and Mike McCarey.  I have taken classes with Nicholas Lodge and he is an incredible teacher, an amazing artist and an inspiration to me.  His flowers are the most beautiful I have ever seen, with such attention to detail.  Mike McCarey has the most incredible eye for making cake not look like cake.  To have his talent!

When you start a project do you have a vision or goal in mind, or do you figure it out as you go? A lot of my planning is in my head, as I am very visual.  If its an unusual project, I will draw it out first or research.  Most of the research is on the structural side.  Sometimes I just sit down with a pile of layer cake and start carving away from what I see in my head.

What are your favorite ingredients to work with?
Chocolate cake and gum paste!

What will the inspiration for your gingerbread house be? If you’re unsure, how will you plan and prepare for the Gingerbread Benefit? My team and I are working on the idea of a set of shops.  We would love to honor how the city of Raleigh has revised itself into a place to not only work, but good food, good shopping and great entertainment.  

What are the most challenging aspects of being a pastry chef? Heat and Humidity!  They drive me crazy!

When do you feel most rewarded for your work? Ah, the smiles on the faces of people admiring your work and tasting your food.  There is nothing better than bringing that kind of happiness to a person, especially when you are doing something you love.

 

The 9th annual Gingerbread Benefit is to be held on December 1, 2011 at the Umstead Hotel and Spa. Tickets for the event are available online at https://tfsnc.org/index.php/gingerbread-benefit/purchase-tickets-online

Buy now–before the event sells out!

Check us out on Facebook!

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Two Years Strong

November 1st, 2011 marked the two year anniversary of our wonderful CEO Alice Lutz joining the Triangle Family Services team. Last week Alice sat down and talked about what brought her to Triangle Family Services, how things have gone since arriving, and what she see’s happening in the future.

Alice what brought you to Triangle Family Services?

Alice: I was running my own business and I started to miss working with a team to accomplish goals. I missed the heart pulse of a team.

How have these last two years gone here at Triangle Family Services?

Alice: I knew it would not be easy when taking this job. Running a non-profit organization in today’s society is tough. It is a struggle of the new reality, this industry has changed forever. But it has been a very rewarding experience.

What have you seen change while you have been here at Triangle Family Services?

Alice: There has been a substantial culture change and these changes have been directly in line with our clients needs. There has been more team building and Triangle Family Services has become a more integrated agency.

What would you like to see in your next two years here?

Alice: I would like to see sustainable income, a stable revenue chain, and more grants. I could go on and on with this one.
Has this experience been what you thought it would be?

Alice: Oh yes, I knew it would be hard coming in and I have sacrificed a lot to get here. I have put this job in front of a lot of things my health included.

Has this experience at Triangle Family Services been rewarding?

Alice: This experience has been phenomenally rewarding. Changing lives is not something I take lightly.

Would you like everyone to know anything else about what has happened these past two years?

Alice: I have been incredibly resourceful. I have brought in top minds from all across Raleigh to help me these past two years. I could not have made it without the help of everyone at Triangle Family Services and the help I have received outside as well.

Thank you Alice for a wonderful two years and hopefully many more to come.

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Getting to Know Nellie Mejia

Triangle Family Services would not be able to provide the help to the families in need if it were not for their hard working staff. Nellie Mejia is one of many that have helped Triangle Family Services become the successful non-profit company they are today.

Nellie Mejia

Nellie Mejia was born and raised in El Paso, Texas but was forced to move when her husbands job brought them to North Carolina. A good friend of Nellie’s worked for Triangle Family Services and told her of an opening that had become available and told her she should apply. Nellie is Bilingual which is exactly a trait Triangle Family Services was looking for in a person to hire. Nellie wanted to make a difference in the world and what better place to do it than Triangle Family Services. She now is an IFC Intake Coordinator here at TFS and said she could not imagine ever wanting to work anywhere else. “The most rewarding part about working here at Triangle Family Services is seeing the changes clients go through while successfully going through their treatment” said Nellie during our interview. This shows the kind of person Nellie is and how much she cares for the families that come into Triangle Family Services day in and day out. Nellie continued by saying “There is no else to work that is so rewarding.”

When asked to give her favorite quote Nellie Mejia simply said “Be the change you want to see” which I believe not only sums up the entire interview but the entire staff here at Triangle Family Services.

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