After graduating with a BFA in Painting and Drawing from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago Nancy went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park to study pastry. Nancy began her career with a strong artisan bread focus, working in bread production and subsequently in 1997 returned back to Chicago and founded Red Hen Bread. After several years of directing Red Hen Bread, Nancy transitioned into research and development for Red Hen Bread to concurrently pursue a career in education. She spent the next eight years teaching baking and pastry at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. Nancy is currently teaching baking and pastry at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. In 2011 she participated in the Pastry Live National Showpiece Championship with Andy Chlebana and won Best Overall Showpiece and Best Chocolate Showpiece.
“Chocolatier of the Year 2013” Chef Melissa left her home country of Colombia to study pastry at The French Pastry school in Chicago. Soon after, she moved to Las Vegas to work at Joel Robuchon at the Mansion, a three Michelin star Restaurant where she run the pastry kitchen of L’atelier de Joel Robuchon.
Realizing that her true passion was chocolate she moved to Caesar’s Palace Casino were she was in charge of all of the chocolate production for the Casino. When the opportunity arose to work with Chef Jean-Marie Auboine she decided to go to the Bellagio. After working together and realizing the potential of their collaboration Chef Melissa and Chef Jean-Marie decided to branch out on their own and co-founded Jean-Marie Auboine Chocolates in Las Vegas. Chef Melissa won People’s choice award and placed second overall on the Chocolatier of the year 2012 competition in Atlanta. And in 2013 She won both titles: “Chocolatier of the Year 2013” as well as the “People Choice Awards”.
Chef Joseph Cumm is currently a Pastry Arts Instructor at the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts. Along with his wife, he also owns EdenJoes Cakery. He is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Johnson and Wales University where he was trained as a classical pastry chef. In 2010, he was nominated for Teacher of the Year for Two-Year colleges in the state of Virginia. He has been decorating cakes for 15 years and continues to push himself in the art of sugar. Chef Joe takes great pride in teaching all aspects of pastry and enjoys watching his students push themselves to levels they never knew existed. His cakes and desserts have appeared in magazines with the most recent being his victory at Pastry Lives Art of the Cake 2013. Chef Joe was one of 10 Pastry Chefs that competed for US Pastry Chef of the Year in NYC March 2nd 2014. He competes regularly in national competitions where he also teaches what he has learned from schooling, fellow colleagues, and life.
With close to 20 years of culinary experience, Chef Fernandez has worked at varied Atlanta restaurants, hotels, and bakeries. She graduated with an Associates of Occupational Sciences in Culinary Arts from the Art Institute of Atlanta in the mid-90s and actually began on the “hot-side”. She found that the pastry department afforded her a better opportunity to show her more artistic and technical sides. Chef Fernandez has received medals for plated desserts at the Southern Pastry Classic and at local ACF competitions. She is a Certified Baker through the Retail Bakers of America and Certified Culinary Educator through the ACF. She currently teaches at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, Georgia in the pastry department. Chef Fernandez loves teaching all aspects of the bakeshop but focuses mainly on showpieces and wedding cake design.