Owner Jan Kish named in the Top Ten Cake Artists of North America
Local culinary and cake artist Jan Kish of La Petite Fleur was recently named as one of Dessert Professional's Top Ten Cake Artists of North America for 2013. We talked with her about the honor, the lessons she's learned and a few of her more challenging cakes.
-Taylor Rogers, @rogerstaylorj
Thank you. I was shocked.
You've been in business for 34 years. What's the most important lesson you've learned?
It's sort of like I don't want to tell anybody anymore. Its like, how old is she? The most important lesson I've learned is work for someone else [laughing]. No, there's so many of them. Probably having a business degree along with the pastry degree. That sounds funny, but that's probably one of those important things.
What's your philosophy when it comes to cake decorating?
That line that says "never is, good enough." If you put it out there and you say that it's good enough, you know automatically that it's not. Also, it has to taste as good as it looks because those are two units that need to and have to run together.
How many cakes do you average per week?
I have no idea. I really don't. It fluctuates with the season. I've worked on one particular cake for four and half months. So that's wiped out four others I could work on. It's not how many you do in a week. It's the degree of difficulty.
Four and a half months?!
It was for 3,000 people. It was six feet, eight inches tall. It was in California, in L.A. I can't tell you who it was for. We just did one that took four weeks, and that was in Cincinnati.
Your personal favorite flavor you make?
My personal favorite is Coconut Cake. That's almost nobody's favorite. The cake that won the Best Tasting cake on TLC's "Ultimate Cake Off" was the White Swan Cake with English Lemon Curd, Vanilla Butter Cream Icing and Raspberry Reduction.
Well my base of friends is here, which is a huge part because I had the two restaurants and the catering business, so a lot of friends go along with that. And I have a lot of friends in New York and Chicago within the industry. If I were to move someplace else the competition is going to be equally as ugly. And we ship all over the world, so we have that capability of going wherever people might like us to go. I don't really know that moving to another place would do anything for the business. If I were to move anywhere, I'd move to Nantucket or England. If I could retire, I'd move there.
If you're not having cake for dessert, what's your NEXT favorite sweet?
Well my first favorite sweet is actually pie. I think I've gotten caked-out. My favorite is Lemon Chiffon. And another we do, which is a Chocolate Meringue pie.
Photos courtesy of Jan Kish