My name is Alex Ahearn. I love baking. It combines so many things that I care about it – art, mathematics, and most importantly the pleasure of enjoying great food with my family and friends.
I’ve been into baking since I was about eight years old after my mom’s friend gave me Emeril’s There’s a Chef in my Soup, a cookbook that I still use to this day for his chocolate chip cookie and banana bread recipes. Those two, simple recipes were the first building blocks of my love for baking.
In 2010, when I was 14, I started getting really into baking and would often bake desserts for holidays and parties, and for my Dad to bring to his work to share with people. In 2011, I started this site to make it easier for my Dad’s co-workers to request baked goods. The frequency of my baking depends on my schedule with school, working in a kitchen as a pastry cook, and volunteering. Sometimes my posts are weekly, but there are months where I’m just too busy to make updates here. The starting point for many of the recipes begins with The Golden Book of Desserts, which friends at my Dad’s work bought for me as a present (Thanks everyone!) and with Bon Appetit. I sometimes modify recipes to add or subtract ingredients based on what I like or what I think others will enjoy. I love the feedback that I get on what I’m baking – it’s great to know what works and what needs improvement as I continue trying new recipes. Many of the recipes from 2014 forward are from my classes at Johnson & Wales. It’s been great combining experience with baking at home, in the classroom labs, and at work.
One of the things that I want to improve on is dessert plating, when I have the opportunity at parties and holidays. Baking can be so precise, and with plating you can really express yourself. I worked at New England Bonsai Gardens for several years and when I had time, I created ikebana (Japanese flower arrangements) for the customers and employees to enjoy. I think the concepts here can be applied to how food is presented, and it’s something I want to focus on and refine throughout my career. I like simple, straightforward desserts, but I also think food tastes better when it’s presented well.
I chose Johnson & Wales University because it’s not only one of the best schools in its field but it also allows students to have the normal class experience with academics. I love it here at J&W and hope to graduate with a Bachelors degree in Baking & Pastry Arts in 2018. In the next five years, I see myself training at many high-end restaurants all over the world. I would ultimately like to work in a test kitchen or for a food company developing products and recipes.
My favorite desserts are tiramisu, lemon bars, and chocolate eclairs. In that order. My Mom makes the best lemon bars!