Meet our pastry chef, Maria!
Who’s behind all those incredible morning pastries, lunchtime cookies and homemade desserts? We thought we would introduce you to our newest addition to our kitchen.
Has baking been a passion for you all your life?
When I was little, I would help my family make whatever I could, even if that just meant playing in the sink and doing dishes. I loved it all. I remember rolling meatballs for Christmas with my B (grandmother) and helping her bake whoopie pies for her friend’s wedding. My favorite thing to make was chocolate no-bake cookies with my mom. The best part was licking the pot and the spoon while the cookies set up. I loved cooking so much that when I was four years old, Santa even brought me my own plastic kitchen set. But that didn’t stop me from helping in the real kitchen.
What is your background?
My culinary schooling started when I was in high school. I spent half of my day’s junior and senior years at United Technologies Center in Bangor, ME. While there I competed in a national baking completion SkillsUSA and placed second in the state. After High School I continued my culinary journey at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. There I earned my associate degree in Baking and Pastry Arts in May of 2017. With that degree I did an internship at the European Bakery in Falmouth, ME. After my internship I stayed with the baker working two days a week for the summer prior to my junior year. After getting my associate degree I continued at JWU to earn my bachelor’s degree in food and Beverage Entrepreneurship in November of 2018.
While in high school and college I worked in the bakery and customer service of Hannaford supermarket. There I worked mostly as a cake decorator. I also worked at the Cross-Insurance Center in Bangor during this time as Event staff. At the Cross center I would always bring in trays of baked good for my co-workers during the Bangor State Fair. My co workers were broken hearted when they found out I wasn’t going to be at this year’s fair with my goodies. I have spoiled them for the past seven years.
What do you love about what you do?
I love watching people smile as they enjoy their pastry. My favorite part is when a certain goodie strikes a sense of nostalgia with a person and then they share a story form their past with you. For instance, say a molasses cookie reminds you of the ones your grandmother would make for Christmas.
What makes Attean special to you?
I like Attean because it is a mix of my favorite things, baking and the Maine outdoors. I love the pace of life up here. I also treasure the opportunities to speak with guest about my pastries or to just here their stories. I truly find myself very lucky to be able the wake up, bake a few hour and then be able to just paddle across the lake, go for a hike and then come back and help with dinner.
The atmosphere in the kitchen here is also a lot of fun. Where it is a smaller staff, we really get to know each other. Most of the time we are joking with each other, sometimes to the point of tears.
What is your favorite thing to make?
I think that my favorite thing to make right now is cakes. There are just so many flavor possibilities to play with. Since I have been at Attean I haven’t made the same cake twice. I love to play around with different frostings and fillings.
What is your dream for your future?
My dream is to someday open my own Bakery. I want to get some more experience and I love learning from other people as well. Currently my plan is to open the bakery somewhere near my hometown of Brewer, ME.
Got any baking tips for us?
A few tips I have learned is to always frost a frozen cake layer to prevent crumbs in your frosting and that cornstarch is your best friend when making a pie, but just make sure you bring it to a boil.