Student Spotlight – Sandra Blair
Meet Sandra who is a Pastry Arts student with Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. We hope you enjoy hearing her story!
How did your passion began?
I have always loved to cook for my family, friends or whomever was hungry. I was told at an early age that when I cooked a meal that I must be planning on feeding an army because I would cook way too much.
What is your background?
I have worked in the corporate world for a large insurance brokerage firm. My day to day functions is handling a million dollar book of business which at times can be very stressful. I love the clients that I have and think of them as close friends but I know there is more out there for me.
What inspired you to join Escoffier Online?
My daughter got married last July and her mother-in-law (my friend) did her wedding cake. After that she got other cake orders for birthdays or baby showers so I started helping. I started working side by side with Sherry and learned a few things but searched other options to learn more. I have taken some classes in cake decorating, designing, and working with Buttercream and Fondant. And being an Aquarian, I have always been crafty and creative so designing cakes just fit right in.
It didn’t take long for ideas to flow so I sat down and started putting my ideas on paper. One baby shower cake lead to another and then another and by word of mouth our cake business took off. I have only been doing this for almost 6 months and I can’t keep up sometimes with all the orders that we have gotten. I had 5 cakes for this past weekend alone and I am getting Wedding cake orders for weddings booked into June of next year. Baby shower orders a month or two in advance. I have a few customers now that says that we are the only ones that will be doing all their events whether it will be the birthday cakes for their children or baby shower cakes for their friends that they will be hosting. We haven’t even advertised yet and the business we have gotten is by word of mouth from very satisfied customers.
But I don’t want to stop just there, I still have a passion for learning more and more so I want to incorporate pastries in to my cake business. Not only will we be doing cakes and Wedding cakes but will also be able to offer pastries at weddings and to the public. I am always walking around passing out my business cards to brides that are just getting started on planning their future wedding and the first thing that comes out of their mouth is do you cater as well. So once I am finished with the pastry portion I will be taking the culinary portion and have a one stop shop for everything. Not only will I be certified in pastry and culinary, I also have my certification in Wedding Planning.
So in searching for a way to learn pastry and culinary I went to the web and the only thing I could find was Le Cordon Bleu but having a full time job and going to school wasn’t feasible so I continued my search and one day when I thought I wouldn’t be able to take a pastry course I stumbled across Escoffier Online. It has been God’s Blessing as I talk to him on a daily basis and ask for his guidance and he knows what I am passionate for. Now I will be able to take the course in between working on all the cake orders that we have and not be stressed at all.
What are your plans once you finish the program?
My plans once I finish the pastry course is to complete the culinary course. Once I have completed that, then my plan is to have the best of both worlds wrapped up in to one. Sherry & I would love to have our own bakery/wedding venue where people could come into our store sit down by the fireplace in the winter time have a cup of our gourmet coffee, have a pastry and enjoy the atmosphere. Brides could come in, sit down and taste pastries and cake samples when deciding on what pastries they want at their wedding and the cake of their choice for the wedding cake. Also, if the bride wants to book our venue to have their wedding at we could accommodate them as well.
What advice would you give to others about the online program?
My advice to prospective students would be follow your heart and go after your dreams and desires. Don’t let fear stop you from achieving what you have always dreamed about. Most time we talk ourselves out of what we most dream of because we are afraid of failure or not being able to do what we know deep down inside that we can actually do. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and set your goals. Set small goals that are easily obtainable and then set the next one. Never set too big of a goal because then you will get overwhelmed and that leads to frustration. As you obtain your small goals then before you know it you have the confidence built up inside that you can accomplish all tasks you set out to make. Also reading books would be the next thing. My favorite book is “Eat That Frog” by Brian Tracy. This book will teach you all about setting goals and reaching your dreams. Another book is “The Slight Edge”. I have many motivational books in my collection that I go back and re-read when I need to be refreshed. Never under estimate your ability to accomplish your dreams and where your heart leads you. I wish the best and much success for each and every one that is currently enrolled in this course and anyone that is on the fence thinking about enrolling. The only people that fail is the people that don’t try so don’t let fear stop you. Grab your dreams because they are yours!
We thank Sandra for sharing her journey with us! Check out more of our student spotlight stories and student reviews to see why our students chose online training and where they have ended up after completing the online program! If you have a story to share or would like to learn more about our program, please contact us at (877) 452-5489 or [email protected].