The Cake Boss: Lauren Santiago Spotlight
One look at Lauren Santiago’s pastry photos and you get the hint: the girl is incredibly talented. The former veterinarian technician traded in her life in scrubs to pursue her passion of owning her own cake business. And although baking has been a passion of hers for a long time, she craved some sort of training that would help bump her up to the next level. Lucky for her, there was Escoffier’s online pastry arts certificate program. Now, the full time stay-at-home mom could finally get the education she had always wanted and then some. With the 50/50 balance of pastry arts training and entrepreneurship lessons, Lauren not only feels confident in her skills as a baker but also as a business woman. With a plethora of new tricks up her chef’s coat sleeve (and lots of new kitchen toys too), she’s ready to turn her passion into a thriving business.
Lauren took some time out of her busy life to fill us in on her plans after Escoffier, her favorite assignment in the program and the one dessert she can never say no to.
EO: What inspired you to do the pastry arts program at Escoffier Online?
LS: I started off being a vet tech, and although I still have a love for helping animals medically, I had to answer to my passion. I’ve always had a hidden passion for baking and I wanted to take it a step further. So I researched schools that help accommodate this.
EO: Why did you choose an online program?
LS: The online program was actually a huge blessing. I am a stay at home mom. So taking care of my son is a huge priority. And being able to stay home and do school at the same time was the most suitable and perfect option for me.
EO: What were your top 3 favorite parts of the program?
LS: In no particular order:
1. The uniform. Being able to wear a chef coat made it feel more real since I’m not in a physical culinary school. It also made me feel so professional.
2. The tool kit. I absolutely love kitchen gadgets; it’s one of the things I collect the most of. And this just added to it and showed me what commercial grade goods are.
3. The baking. I’m able to create dishes/desserts that I never thought of making before. This is great because it pushes me into a new direction of thinking. Now when I look at recipes, I almost don’t even need to look at the step-by-step since they all have a method. The methods for cookies for example are typical the creaming method and the same for cakes. As long as I have the ingredients then the process is pretty self-explanatory.
EO: What was your favorite recipe assignment?
LS: I am definitely partial to cookies, so I would have to say that the chewy oatmeal cookies are my absolute favourite. They are for sure not a stranger in my kitchen.
EO: Where do you think the Escoffier Online program has helped you the most?
LS: Staying organized. I am a very visual person, since we have the mise en place photos to take I can see exactly what’s missing or where all of the ingredients are located. While I’m waiting for the eggs, butter, or milk to become room temperature I can set up the dry ingredients and have them ready for production time. I don’t only do this for school but for my small cake baking business.
EO: What’s your favorite pastry to make?
LS: I love making cakes. Especially now with my cake business. Even though baking is a science and every measurement has to be precise, the best part of cake baking it when the cake cools completely. That means that I am able to let my creativity side show and have fun with different designs.
EO: How about to eat?
LS: Cookies are my kryptonite. More specifically chocolate chip cookies that are huge in size and in thickness. Pair that with an ice cold glass of milk and I’m a happy camper.
EO: In 5 years I would like to be_______________.
LS: …in my own brick and mortar kitchen. I’m not super interested in a store front, like a café, but a place that I can bake and have a small show room to show clients would be my dream come true.
EO: With your Escoffier Online education under your belt, what’s your next career step?
LS: I currently have a small cake business that’s slowly getting off the ground. I’m hoping that having this certification adds to my confidence in my craft. Learning the business aspect is so important. Just having great products isn’t enough to run on. I believe you have to have the knowledge on how to run a business. That’s why this program is so perfect for me. I’m able to understand the science of baking and the science of business management.
Another cake made by Lauren Serrano, adorned with lavender, flowers and macarons.