San Francisco, USA
My passion for baking started around 2-3 years old. My grandmother brought me into the kitchen and starting to teach me all the recipes she knew from her home in Mexico.
As I started to get older, I also developed a passion for art. I was a good drawer and liked sculpting things with clay. I wasn’t sure how I could combine both of my passions for cooking and art together until I watched a famous American pastry chef, Duff Goldman, create this magnificent boat shaped cake on TV. That’s when I knew I wanted to create art through food as a pastry chef.
I just loved the idea of someone getting excited from what I baked and being able to give them an almost childlike feeling and wonderment from my art. I wanted to present my creation to them and see their look. To me that was what baking was all about!
Pursuing the dream
My biggest achievement so far was actually not giving up on my career in baking. I started looking into culinary schools during my senior year in high school. Due to both my living and my financial situation I couldn’t go into any of them after high school. Once my living and financial situation got better in 2015, I attended The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of California-San Francisco and pursued an Associate of Science Degree in Baking and Pastry.
Going in I knew there were going to be difficulties. For one thing I have a learning disability, which makes reading and understanding recipes sometimes tough. So I had to write small notes next to the recipes so I could understand them.
Another difficulty was not being taken seriously in my career and having people tell me that I should just give up because I wouldn’t make it. For I was this young person in a field of sometimes older people set in their ways. I not only had to prove to them that I could keep up with the ‘big boys’, but also push myself to work even harder to overcome their prejudices and surround myself with more positive and supportive people to help keep me going.
Where is Amber now?
I currently work as a cake baker for this lovely lady who owns a small cake shop in San Francisco. We are hoping by the middle of this year to open a second location to expand her growing business. I also recently got a second baking job in San Francisco, in order to gain more knowledge and experience.
My plans for the future is to either be a pastry chef for a small bakeshop or restaurant, or open my own café/bakeshop that sells a mix of both American and Mexican pastries in honor of my grandmother’s heritage.
At some point I would like to move to Australia because there are so many creative things coming from the culinary field in Australia right now!
Tips for a culinary career
My 3 tips for those that are serious about pursuing culinary as a career:
1. Never give up the passion that you have for it.
That passion is what’s going to drive you to the finish and spark that creativity that you have deep down in your soul.
2. Try and find a chef that is willing to teach you everything that they know even if you don’t know anything to begin with.
3. Always be open to learning new things in the culinary field because being in this field of work means you are always a lifelong learner.
Follow Amber and see all of her creations on her instagram @bamber_bakes.