Columbus Bakeries: Jan Kish-La Petite Fleur
For local baker Jan Kish, cake is an art form.
For 40 years, Worthington baker Jan Kish has been delighting Central Ohio with her whimsical, extravagant wedding and celebration cakes. But there’s more to Jan Kish-La Petite Fleur than meets the eye.
“I have a degree in English from Oxford in England, and I wanted to teach,” she says. But while in the U.K., the quaint tea shops caught her eye.
After Oxford, Kish studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and England and L’Académie de Cuisine in Maryland but ended up working as a surgical assistant at Ohio State University. During the decade she spent at OSU, she launched a catering business, La Petite Gourmet, on the side. She later opened a restaurant/catering business in Upper Arlington called La Petite Fleur.
“I would come home [from work] and do catering. It was exhausting,” she says.
By 1990, Kish decided she’d had enough of the retail scene: the guesswork of trying make just the right amount of product, the staffing demands. “The thing that I really wanted to do, which was the cakes, I was getting so far away from,” she says. Instead of leaving the industry, Kish went back to being a home-based baker.
Today, about 85 percent of the cakes she creates are for weddings. She’s also created confections for clients ranging from Oprah Winfrey to President Bill Clinton; among her favorites, she says, is a stunning creation for John Glenn’s 95th birthday in 2016. It featured a globe with a moving shuttle tracing the path of his orbit and a firework designating his launch point from Cape Canaveral.
For Kish, baking is about “looking at cake as an art form—a good, edible art form,” she says. “You eat with your eyes first. … But if the taste doesn’t follow up, it’s a huge disappointment. You’ve got to make sure one equals the other.”
Order a custom cake or cupcakes by visiting jankish.com.