So I Guess I'm A Pastry Cook - Plus a Big Giveaway


I know. I know. It's been so long since I've blogged that you're thinking, "What, she's just going to get a new job and drop off the face of the planet?" Well, evidently. And yet I haven't even started the new job. I've got a training start-date (July 13th). I've said goodbye to all my weekends for the foreseeable future. I've broken a life-long promise to myself to never ever wear Crocs or shapeless pants. And to think I used to be a style-blogger. But I am no style blogger, am I? I'm a food writer, friend, gelato-hound, and not-very-funny comedienne....a recipe developer...a pastry apprentice?



Most of you already know from the announcement on Instagram that as of this coming Friday, I am employed as an apprentice at a new restaurant in downtown Norfolk, VA. It's an incredible chance to challenge myself, invest in something new and exciting, learn new techniques, and generally turn my world upside down. I'm humbled to be chosen as part of the team. I am mourning a new era of ugly shoes and even uglier pants. I wonder if the pastry jackets will be chic. I wonder if I'll find a friend among the men and women who are also part of the kitchen team. I am beginning to feel a sort of ownership in this enterprise. I am beginning to feel a sort of dread about how much my social freedom will change. I am excited and intimidated, apprehensive and ecstatic all at the same time. I bought my first pair of Crocs. I swore I'd never buy a pair of Crocs. I also swore I'd never work in a professional kitchen, but we see where all that protesting got me.


My birthday is near - I know this not only because the calendar says so, but because the crepe myrtle trees are in full-bloom. Usually I have some huge birthday plans up my sleeve. Not this year. This year I'll be lucky if I have enough spare hours in a row to get a group of friends together for brunch, and it makes me a little nervous. It's definitely silly and childish to be nervous because I can't have a birthday party. Like ridiculous. I know that.


Don't get me wrong - I am thrilled at the opportunity before me at Four Eleven York. But I've gotten to a place in life where I have to choose some of the many pleasant things before me instead of all of them. When I say "yes" to a professional kitchen - to lessons in modern culinary techniques, desserts constructed with liquid nitrogen, dank basements full of curing meats, blindingly white roofs full of drying summer produce - I am saying "no" (for a season) to spontaneous movie dates, after-work hang-out sessions, walks at Golden Hour, weekend evening events. It'll be worth it. It will. Because when something scares the living heck out of you, it usually means there is treasure underneath. Shoo the scary dragon away and you'll be able to access the hoards of knowledge, experience, and skill hiding under his belly.
"Fairytales do not tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairytales tell children that dragons can be killed." - G.K. Chesterton

I'll still be blogging here - no worries about that. I'm positive I'll have even more to write about than I ever have, courtesy of the insanity of doing this thing for real. Please, please keep up on Instagram! Most of my readers pop over to the blog from Instagram anyway, but for those of you who don't, there is so much constantly going on that I am better able to document on IG. I'm sorry there isn't a new recipe right now! However, duhn-duhn-duhnnnnnnnn.....to better celebrate this whole new season and all the surprises it contains (as well as to celebrate my birthday and this blog's second birthday), I'm having a GIVEAWAY. And in that giveaway you can win a cookbook I've come to love. It's filled with all kinds of fancy-yet-achievable desserts like the incredible tahini-halva brownies shown above. Listen, I don't like brownies but these single-handedly changed my mind. I don't say I love brownies; I say I love these brownies.

You know what else I love? Giveaways. You take half a second to set yourself up for the chance to win a LOT of good things and what do you have to lose? Maybe three minutes if you don't win? But if you do win, then you're set for days with some of my favorite kitchen treats. Things like a linen table-runner from Anthropologie, Trader Joe's "everything bagel" seasonings, a copy of Yottam Ottolenghi's "SWEET" cookbook, and more! Please enter - I want everyone to be able to get in on the excitement of this new step in the life of Lipstick & Gelato! The giveaway starts tonight at midnight so get in on the love. Cheers to the future! May we live with our feet in the present with a finger in a dream.



(Photos courtesy of the fantastic Kerri Ann McGowan of Talking Cactus Photography )

34 comments

  1. OKAY PLEASE JUST DON'T LEAVE US WE NEED YOU AND THIS BLOG

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    1. Never! I love blogging far, far too much to ever stop! I see this as a new era of even better stories, content, and fun. :) <3

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    1. As a gluten free person, I would love to see any gluten free pastry. :) There aren't enough!

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    2. Duly noted as to the gluten-free pastries! That's a category I really want to explore - the science behind it is what makes it such a problem, but I don't think it's insurmountable!

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  3. So excited for you & your new adventure, Rachel!

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    1. Thank you, sweet friend! Your words last week really encouraged me. <3

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  4. How exciting! And what a fun giveaway! My favorite type of pastry is probably a croissant. ;)

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  5. Um, yeah, croissants are amazing! Especially the ones with chocolate inside!

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  6. My favorite pastry is macarons.

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    1. That's such a great choice! They're pretty great.

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  7. This job sounds amazing! I’m a kouign amman lover 😋

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    1. Thank you, Brittney! I've never had kouign amman but dannnnnnnng. I want some now. So thanks for that.

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  8. I would have to say hands down a warm buttery flaky croissant. I took a class at Sur Le Table but have yet to use my skills at home, one day��

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  9. There's a chocolate filled pastry I had in the UK that you can find in Panera, but I can't remember the official name of it. :P

    Happy birthday!! And congrats on the new job. I was just talking to someone the other day about decisions and one of the things that came up was not letting fear what keeps us from making a decision. So best wishes as you look the dragon in the eye and wave him away from the wonderful things you are making in life. :)

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  10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AND CONGRATULATIONS!!! SO exciting...favorite pastery...soooo hard. Donuts rank pretty high up there if that counts. (There is a Skizzel donut at this tiny shop and it's kind of to die for...)

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  11. I'm so excited for you! Yay for shooing away scary dragons! I think my favorite pastry would either be peach pie or this thing that I got in Mozambique called torte de leite.

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    1. Ooooo that sounds scrumptious! What's in a torte de leite?

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  12. I am SO excited for you! And haha I've got a blog post up my sleeves about all the major life things I swore I'd never do and then found myself doing. :) Happy Birthday and keep your chin up with the challenges as you enjoy the thrills of the new job.

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    1. PS I really love apple strudel. And the Bavarians make this amazing croissant thing with pretzel dough.

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    2. I can't wait to read this post! Also, um, A PRETZEL CROISSANT. I need more information. Stat.

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  13. this is so awesome Rachel! I love following along on your adventures :)
    I'm a sucker for alllll pastries, but maybe eclairs the most?

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    1. Ooooo I always forget about eclairs but I always love them too.

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  14. So excited for your new adventures! I’m sure you will tackle them with grace and aplomb. (And style, crocs and shapeless pants notwithstanding ��). Can’t wait to hear more! (Also would love to hear about the vow not to work in a professional kitchen, very curious). I love that this a new restaurant! Exciting to be on the ground level.

    DONUTS. But also croissants. But also alll of the pastries.

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  15. Happy birthday! You should have the best birthday bash ever! The older you get, the more reason to celebrate! I love baklava... but pretty much every pastry has a hold on my heart.

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  17. All the pastries! But specifically Danishes. With extra coffee, of course.
    ~Rachel Taylor

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  18. Congrats on the new job, Rachel, and all the adventure to come! I’ve never worked in the food industry, but I’ve been working a 9-5 for five years. I wanted to encourage you that the pay-off of development and expertise can be well worth the restrictions these jobs place on your availability for a season. :)
    I don’t know if these officially count as pastries, but my favorite are cranberry lemon scones with butter. All the best to you!

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  19. Congrats on your apprenticeship!

    Sorry I submitted the first entry into the giveaway before seeing I have to leave a comment with my insta name and I’m not really comfortable with doing that.

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  20. Mine is croissants. If they are made right they are light and fluffy with a bit of sweetness. You can eat them any meal. I love mine with ham and cheese for breakfast actually.

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