Frederick Isla


Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

“Three years to forge one’s soul; thirty years to polish it” –Miyamoto Musashi.

This one of my favorite quotes, that I relate to my career. But, unfortunately it’s taking more than 3 years because there is always something new to learn every day.

Moving from the Philippines to Canada at a young age, I grew up having the influence of both eastern and western cultures. Never really knowing “what I wanted to be when I grow up”, I leaned toward the sciences where I felt I had a natural aptitude for. But, after working in hospitality and advice from my parents; I went into the culinary arts, earned a degree and found a new niche.

Under the watchful eyes of chefs from Culinary Team Canada and working for various chefs, I gained the skill and techniques needed to compete and excite myself to pusher further in my culinary career.

Not until I moved to Las Vegas, did I fully commit to patisserie. But, working for various hotels in Las Vegas and notable chefs like Jean – Claude Canestrier, Vincent Pilon, Randy Sebastian, Gianni Santin and now Carlos Salazar, have slowly developed skills to get to where I am now.

I have always had an interest in art, but never took any formal classes (self taught mostly). I find inspiration in almost anything (nature, industrial, feng shui, famous painters, and even my children’s drawings) and I try to interpret and emulate it in my cakes. Now I am known for my signature style of sculpted and hand painted cakes.

Janet Hurley


JJ Pastries by Design

Janet loved to cook, bake and enjoy food her whole life. Being a wife and a mother created the most excellent arena to learn and create her own style in the kitchen. When her children were old enough she went back to school. She yearned for a career and a degree. After achieving her associates, she was ready to transfer to a four-year college and finish out her bachelors. The only thing that stood in her way was would being a high school math teacher help fulfill her creative side. She new she wanted to be a pastry chef and realized that to be taken seriously she needed to attend school.

She applied to pastry school and a college. Whichever one came in first was the one that was meant to be. She took each application to heart and when Kendall College came back with a yes dove in headfirst. It was love at first class. It was hard and great all in one. Every class made her push harder. Her family and friends stood behind her and encouraged her the whole way. When it was time to do the internship only one place could make her happy. Disney. She was accepted and left everyone for a three-month internship at The Yacht and Beach Club Resort Bakery. It was terrifying and wonderful, and she missed her family more than she could imagine. She pushed forward and before she new it, it was over. Only five more months of school and graduation neared. Mission accomplished, but what now.There was no way that the learning was over. So, French Pastry School here she came.

Another six months flew by and this time she did permanent stages at Trotters to Go and Take the Cake through the school semester before classes. They both hired her. Take the Cake started first and Janet worked through October, as the season started to slow Trotter’s To Go called and she worked there too. In October Trotters asked for more hours. It was perfect one was slowing and the other was picking up speed.

After a year and a half at Trotter’s Janet learned that the French Pastry School was looking for interns for the gateau program. She was so excited this meant learning new things and working with and for some of the greatest Chef’s. She had wanted to do that class before and it was all too good to be true. She applied immediately and without hesitation. The long wait brought good news she made it. She finally had her cake and got to eat it, too. She loved it. She loved cakes. She loved her Chef’s. After graduation and the thought of a new career, she dove into the job market. She wanted her own place but was not sure she was really ready. Janet searched and with the help of her friends she landed a job at Park Hyatt Nomi. She is currently working there and enjoying making cakes and so many other things at The Hyatt. She is not sure where the wind will take her but she knows that pastry, cakes and flowers will always be a part of her life.

Veronica Estrada


Sugar Benders Bakery

Veronica is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Mercer University. She has over 14 years in the foodservice industry and 7 years decorating cakes. She attended classes at The Sugar Art Institute in Norcross, Ga. Where she learned how to refine and apply her decorating skills effectively. Veronica currently owns Sugar Benders Bakery, in East Cobb. A highly successful premier bakery that features specialty cakes, fresh pastry, and breads.

Matthew J. Dyer


Culinard Culinary Institute of Virginia College

Chef Matthew Dyer began his career at New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, VT. His love for baking began young, helping his mother bake pies and cakes for Holiday Inn Hotels.

After graduating Culinary School, Chef Dyer stayed at NECI as a Teaching Assistant under Chef Adrian Westrope, a former Pastry Chef for the Queen, where he was responsible for preparing all specialty cakes and wedding cakes for La Brioche Bakery. This is where love of pastry and cakes really took off. Chef Dyer worked as Executive Pastry Chef at Pitcher Inn, a Relais and Chateaux Property, and Bolton Valley Ski Resort, where he was in charge of Bailey’s, the fine dining restaurant.

Chef Dyer moved to Alabama to get out of the harsh Northeast Winters. Since moving to Alabama, Chef Dyer has worked at such establishments as danielgeorge, Tria Market, and Icon Restaurant. He also is Personal Chef for some notable figures in the Birmingham area.