Name: Kate Goodpaster
Current City: Minneapolis
Current Job: Pastry Chef, Patisserie 46
What is your background in pastry and how did you get to where you are today?
After several years of learning on the job in coffee shop/bakery settings, I attended The French Pastry School of Chicago. After completing the Patisserie program at The French Pastry School, I was selected for the school’s internship program. The internship fortified my education and set me on my professional course. I was able to see and network with inspiring people, products, and techniques. One of those people was John Kraus. I’ve been working at Patisserie 46 for almost 2 years now, and I feel very lucky to have landed in my dream job.
What do you love about your job?
I love that I work in a professional pastry kitchen that not only strives for technical excellence but truly encourages passion for food and pastry arts. I learn a lot from my coworkers, and I get to spend every day doing what I love.
What is your favorite product to make?
I spend most of my time making my favorite pastry: croissants. I love working with doughs, living food. Croissants involve that aspect as well as the elegance of lamination and endless possibilities for shapes, fillings, and flavors. I also enjoy making preserves: pickles, jams, etc. To me, preserving seasonal produce shows respect and enthusiasm for its value and expands the ways it can contribute to a dish or product. As a hobby I’ve also taken up cheesemaking. I find it fascinating how slight changes in certain variables can produce such different results, distinguishing gouda from feta from brie.
What do you consider to be the biggest food trends impacting your business, and how are you responding?
Always count on the classics. People seem to be most moved by simplicity and classic pastries done well. We often take classic pastries and put our own twist on them. In the case of our kouign amman, we literally made it into a twist, changing the traditional shape but keeping the flavor and laminating technique. In other cases, such as danish, we’ll insert or infuse different flavors that reflect the season or local trends, still relying on traditional foundations.
What is the best advice you have received from other bakers or chefs?
“There’s no crying in pastry.” Pastry is my passion, inseparable from feeling and emotion, but focus and a calm demeanor always contribute to a better product.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the kitchen?
I always enjoy collaborating with Joshua Werner, our chocolatier. Our differing skill sets are complementary, encouraging learning and innovation. We have fun putting our heads together and coming up with new products. There are many chefs I would love to get the chance to work with for even one day. Gregoire Michaud, Ciril Hitz, Jeffery Hamelman, and Francisco Migoya are some names that come to mind right away.
What is the best thing you’ve eaten lately?
Caramel corn style pork rinds made by Chef John for the Cochon 555 competition. So wrong, but so right!
When you are not in the bakery, where can you be found?
On the back of a horse!
In terms of innovation, what do you think your generation brings to the table?
I think the most important way my generation is innovating is not so much in technique or new categories of product, but in actively and creatively featuring seasonal and local ingredients. Chefs want to highlight these ingredients through classical or modern techniques.
What is something you would like to achieve that you have not done already?
I want to compete in the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie. It is the highest professional award in my field, and I love a challenge. To compete would be an amazing honor and a huge personal achievement.