Jessica Craig

Jessica Craig

Pastry Chef at Celestine, Grand Army, and Pebble Bar

I am continuously inspired by the camaraderie of my coworkers, industry colleagues, and friends. I love that this is an industry where those you work with end up becoming extended family. It truly inspires me to keep going each day.

I knew right away that a life in the kitchen was something that I wanted. I didn't realize that I wanted to be a pastry chef until I had my first pantry cook position where I had to plate desserts as well as appetizers. I enjoyed the baking classes I had in culinary school but it was when I began to have pastry as a part of my actual work that I realized I wanted to cook desserts and pastries full-time.
Lessons I have learned throughout my career: (1) a little bit of salt goes a long way, (2) it's ok to speak your mind, (3) always make sure to take care of yourself.
What I look for when hiring anyone is for someone who is eager, willing to work hard, and has a positive attitude. I look for those things over skills in the kitchen. Technical skills can be taught.
I could never live without my notebooks. I live by lists and I like to write down my recipes regardless of how many times I use them. Writing helps me to focus and keep things at the top of my thoughts.
Having a healthy work/life balance is something I'm always working on. Setting clear boundaries is key. For example: I don't check work emails on my days off. I'll skim email subjects to make sure there's no emergencies. If it's a pressing matter, everyone has my cell number. It's important to make sure that you have time to yourself to relax and do what you need to do to unwind.
I find inspiration in so many ways. Eating at other restaurants, art, movies, music, going for a walk. Particular seasons are a great inspiration as well. I love cooking according to the seasonality of produce. Doing so allows the use of the best ingredients at peak times of the year.

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