Image credit: Chris Emeott Photography
At The Cookie Cups, we rely on a talented team of people to help us keep things running smoothly. One of those people is our Food Manager, Desirae.
Desirae started working with The Cookie Cups in 2015, when we were selling our Cups at local farmers markets and events. At the time, she was a student at Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis, and she worked with us as an extra set of hands to help out at events like the Uptown Art Fair and the Renaissance Festival.
She continued to help out at events and came on board as a part-time employee when we opened our Navarre bakery in April 2018. This past September, Desirae became our full-time Food Manager so she could help creator and owner Nicole Pomije at our new Chanhassen location, too.
Although Desirae’s day-to-day role looks a little different while we’ve changed our operations for COVID-19, we wanted to showcase all the amazing things she does for our Chanhassen and Navarre bakeries. We did a Q&A with her to find out what life is like as The Cookie Cups Food Manager.
Q: What does a Food Manager do?
A: I assist Nicole with the day-to-day [operations] of the stores -- getting supplies, preparing food for the day, and filling orders. I also help Nicole with planning cooking classes, coming up with specials, and designing custom cakes.
Q: How did you find your current opportunity at The Cookie Cups?
A: I first found The Cookie Cups when I was enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu. One day we were told that someone was looking for bakers to help in preparation for the Uptown Art Fair and there would be baking and sales experience. I jumped at the opportunity.
I met Nicole and continued to help her with different events until the first Cookie Cups store was opened. I worked with her occasionally on my days off from my full-time job, until finally in September I started working with Nicole full-time.
Q: What was the most important thing you learned during your culinary education?
A: I think one of the most important things I learned was the chemistry behind baking. Unlike cooking, baking -- especially with breads -- is very precise. The temperature of the ingredients and the room itself can affect the outcome.
Q: Are there any fun facts about you that our readers would be interested to know?
A: I moved to Minnesota in 2014. Before that, I lived in North Carolina, where my parents and sister are. I can also play three instruments: the flute, piccolo, and French horn. Though I haven’t played in years, I was in band all through school.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being part of The Cookie Cups family?
A: My favorite thing has been being able to watch Nicole build her business while supporting her in growing her brand.
Q: What advice would you give to others with culinary career aspirations?
A: If you want to work in a bakery or restaurant, go for it. They are almost always willing to train you. You just need to want to be there.