Food & Drink

A Day in the Life of a Pastry Chef

Pierpont’s Trish Minton dishes up the sweet and sour of baking some of KC’s tastiest treats.

For Trish Minton, a baking career was a dream come true.

Years ago, when she started her first pastry chef gig, she had a reoccurring dream about opening a bakery, but all she could see in it was, as she puts it, “beautiful bundt cakes.”

“I thought that would be such a cool concept to modernize,” Minton says. “I’d do flavors grandma wasn’t making back in the 1970s with her old bundt pan.”

Minton combined this dream with a certain scene from the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” to create My.Big.Fat.Bundt, a gluten-free and vegan baking social media account where she posts her latest mouthwatering cooking endeavors.

A social savvy baker by night, Minton works with all things sweets as a pastry chef at Pierpont’s at Union Station during the day. She takes us behind the baking of her delectable job.

9 a.m.: Minton’s day begins a little later than a typical pastry chef or baker, whose days can start as early as 6 or 7 a.m. Usually a baker rises early to stock a pastry case, but because Minton works at a restaurant, many pieces of the desserts get prepped in advance and are plated as customers order them.

When she arrives at the Pierpont’s, Minton grabs her clipboard and starts making her rounds. She takes stock of what desserts were sold the night before, checks the main kitchen’s supplies, notes the reservations for the evening, checks the convention calendar and gets a headcount of how many people are staying hotels near the Crown Center. (Hotel guests make up a large number of the restaurant’s patrons.) She also checks the banquet schedule to see if there are any orders in.

Today, there’s a banquet order for 150 dipped strawberries, and she’ll need to prepare more chocolate mousse tarts and crème brûlée, the restaurant’s most-ordered dessert.

9:45 a.m.: Minton begins preparation for a busy evening at the restaurant. She starts by making a giant batch of creme brulee mix. Then, she cooks up a batch of mousse for the tarts and sets it in a mold.

1 p.m.: Once the restaurant has everything it needs, she moves on to the banquet and catering preparations. For the upcoming wedding, she washes the strawberries and places them back in the cooler. Tomorrow she’ll dip them in chocolate.

2 p.m.: Minton checks with the banquet team to see if there are any special requests for upcoming events or anything they’d like to add to the menu.

2:30 p.m.: If Minton has time left at the end of her day, she works on developing new recipes. Sometimes this means taking a recipe she made the day before and making it even better.

After talking to the banquet coordinators today, she needs to work on a request for a new cake-based treat with lemon.

Minton begins by brainstorming on paper. She writes down words like “cake,” “blueberry” and “raspberry.” Eventually, she connects the dots and decides on a lemony cake with raspberry compote to go with it.

Next, Minton takes to the recipe books, past recipes and the Internet to find guidance. No matter what guide she’s using, she substitutes ingredients or combines recipes.

If she has time that afternoon, Minton will bake the recipe, taste it and share it with her coworkers, getting feedback. Then, she bakes it again to get the flavors just right and test the shelf life. She keeps it in the cooler, and she and others taste it every day and ask themselves if the flavors have changed.

The final step is getting it approved by the executive chef. If he likes it, she types up the recipe and adds it to the official cookbook.

4 p.m.: Minton heads home, but because baking is her passion, she often takes her work with her. She reviews her notes from the day and types up recipes she created, and spends her personal time scouring the Internet for new recipes and food trends. –Lauren Rutherford

See the gluten-free, vegan cobbler recipe Minton shared with us here.