Opening Keynote Address
Melissa Ben-Ishay is a mom, baker, and founder of Baked by Melissa, the New York City-based dessert brand famous for its handcrafted, bite-size cupcakes in a wide variety of ever-changing flavors. Passionate about baking for others since childhood, and with the idea that people should be able to taste more flavors without a post-dessert guilt trip, she decided to do what she loved and launched Baked by Melissa in 2008 after being fired from her job in advertising.
Today the company ships nationwide, operates 13 stores, and has sold over 200 million cupcakes. Every bite-size treat is still made by hand using only the most delicious ingredients. With its highly acclaimed assortment of flavors, gift boxes for every occasion and custom shipping packaging to ensure treats arrive safe and fresh, Baked by Melissa has become an endlessly popular gift-giving brand across the U.S.
Melissa now serves as the company’s CEO, still conceptualizes every new flavor, and the brand is committed to the same goal Melissa had from day one: To make people happy, one little bite at a time.
Closing Keynote Address
Denise is the Founder and CEO of Partake Foods, a natural food company that was inspired by her daughter’s experience with food allergies. Launched in 2017, Partake’s first product—delicious, better for you, allergy-friendly cookies—can now be found in more than 8,000 retailers including Target, Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Whole Foods Market. In 2021, Partake released a line of Baking Mixes—Brownie Mix, Blondie Mix, and a Pizza Crust Baking Mix—all available on partakefoods.com. In January 2022, Partake introduced Pancake & Waffle Mixes in Classic & Confetti flavors available at select Target stores nationwide.
Denise is the first Black woman to raise more than $1 million publicly for a CPG food startup. To date, the company has raised over $7.5M from investors including HER, Rihanna, CircleUp Growth Partners, FF2032 and Marcy Venture Partners.
Prior to launching Partake, Denise spent a decade in consumer packaged goods at various Fortune 100 companies. She lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy, and daughter, Vivienne. She graduated with her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Arizona State University.
Buttercream Cookie Decorating Basics (Hands-On)
Jenny Keller is the author of the popular cookbooks Eat More Dessert and Cookie Class, and owner of the destination bakeries Jenny Cookies Bake Shop, in Washington state.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and inspired by the PNW’s love of coffee, Jenny started her own espresso business in 2003 which would be the beginning of her entrepreneurial adventure. After her daughter Ally was born, she sold the successful business to settle in as a stay-at-home mom.
Not long thereafter Jenny began hobby baking from home with the main focus being buttercream decorated sugar cookies. Creative baking quickly became a passion and her signature cookies were given a name: Jenny Cookies. The cookies were soon joined by cakes, cupcakes and a variety of desserts and a growing blog and social media following. Jenny’s ideas are simple, timeless and creative.
From desserts to everyday entertaining, Jenny lends inspiration and encouragement to others for their own events and everyday celebrations. Her style, designs and expertise have been seen in Country Living, Better Homes & Gardens, People, Us Weekly, Brides and More.
When she’s not creating for her website, Jenny styles and creates content for brands such as Wilton, Pottery Barn Kids, Warner Bros, Fresh, Bath & Body Works, McCormick, JoAnn Fabric and Craft Stores and more to connect consumers with their product. She is also known for her work with numerous celebrities such as Tori Spelling, Tiffani Thiessen, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lisa Rinna and many of ABC’s The Bachelor & Bachelorettes. Jenny lives in Richmond Beach, WA, with her husband, Dan, and two children, Ally and Hudson.
Sculpted Cakes (Hands-On)
Liz Marek is the owner of Sugar Geek Show in Portland, Oregon. Liz specializes in sculpted cakes, realistic figure modeling, and structure but also enjoys making sugar flowers, working with isomalt, and experimenting with the limits of what sugar can do. In 2014, she began traveling and teaching all over the world as well as competing. That same year, she retired from cake decorating to teach full-time.
She is most well-known for her book, Artisan Cake Company’s Visual Guide to Cake Decorating, and winning season 7 of Halloween Wars on the Food Network. You can find more of Liz’s tutorials, recipes and online classes on her YouTube channel or on her online school, www.sugargeekshow.com.
Baking the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie to Satisfy Your Cravings
Sally McKenney is a professional food photographer, cookbook author, and baker. Her kitchen-tested recipes and thorough step-by-step tutorials on Sally’s Baking Addiction give millions of readers the knowledge and confidence to bake from scratch. Sally has been featured on Good Morning America, HuffPost, Taste of Home, People and more.
Cake Decorating Basics (Hands-On)
Courtney Rich is a self-taught baker, who’s love of baking and obsession with cake went from an occasional hobby to a passion just five and a half years ago, and is now something she shares with over 400,000 followers on Instagram as “Cake by Courtney”. Teaching herself through trial and error, Courtney develops and shares her recipes and tutorials so other home bakers can create great tasting and beautiful looking cakes. Courtney also teaches hands-on classes at Orson Gygi and is a recurring guest on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Hallmark Home and Family, The Today Show and Studio5. She’s also been featured in O! Magazine, Taste of Home Magazine, and Bake Magazine.
Prior to starting Cake by Courtney, Courtney worked in media consulting, where she worked with the top broadcast and cable networks in the industry to test new and existing television shows, as well as talent performance and website usability.
Courtney holds a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from BYU. Courtney is married and a mom of two kids, Westin 12 and Avery 7.
Science of Sourdough Bread
Science of Yeast Bread
Kristin “Baker Bettie” Hoffman is a trained chef, baking educator, cookbook author, and creator of the popular blog, BakerBettie.com. She is known for her ability to make baking science approachable and for breaking down essential techniques in a way that connects all the dots to the “whys” of baking. With over 400,000 followers across all platforms, “Baker Bettie” shows not only what to bake but how to bake.
Kristin’s main focus is on baking fundamentals, yeast bread, and sourdough. She resides in Chicago where she teaches many workshops on these topics. She also teaches virtually in her home studio (among her extensive vintage Pyrex Collection) via YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and private live stream classes.
Advanced Cookie Decorating (Hands-On)
Julia M. Usher is a world-renowned sugar artist most recognized for her pioneering work in 3-D cookies. She is also the author of two books, 13 e-books, and an app, all about cookie decorating.
When not spreading her love for cookie art in classes across the globe, Julia produces videos for her popular YouTube channel, Recipes for a Sweet Life; oversees Cookie Connection™, the world’s largest online cookie decorating community; designs cookie stencils sold under her “JULIA” brand; and manages Julia M Usher’s Cookie Art Competition™, which was recently filmed for a Food Network documentary.
Julia also judges Cake Masters Magazine’s annual sugar arts competition, as well as other notable cookie competitions across the country. Julia is Past President of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has received multiple food writing, decorating, and video awards, including James Beard Food Writing Award finalist (2008), Cordon d’ Or Food Writing Award winner (2009), Cake Masters Magazine Cookie Award winner (2013), Oklahoma State Sugar Art Show Medal of Honor (2014), both EAGA US and International Sugar Artist of the Year Awards (2016), Cake Masters Magazine Cookie Icon (2017), and TASTE Breakout Foodie of the Year (2019). But above all else, Julia is a firm believer that life should be lived sweetly!
Pie Art (Hands-On)
Getting Started with Brand Work
Ally Burnett is a content creator, pastry chef, and chocolatier. She has a background in fine dining and two certificates from Ecole Chocolat in both professional chocolatiering & mastering chocolate flavor. She has gained an audience of over 120,000 on TikTok in the last year by making easy-to-follow baking tutorials, unboxing videos, and more.
She currently resides in Alabama with her British fiancé & her two beloved chonky cats Tater & Mater. She is enthusiastically obsessed with sprinkles, chocolate, and giving others the confidence to bake from scratch from the comfort of their own home.
How to Create a Thriving Home Baking Business
Amanda Schonberg is a certified chef and speaker located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She is the founder of Baking For Business, an online platform which shares tips and articles to help bakers to operate the business side of their sugar or baking business. She has been hired to teach business by brands such as Facebook, Louisiana State University School of Business, Wells Fargo, International Cake Exploration Society and more.
Her monthly membership program, Baking for Business – Entrepreneur Community, is a group coaching membership which teaches bakers on a wide variety of topics ranging from marketing to building a solid foundation for your business. She is passionate about helping others to create a sustainable baking business and profit from their purpose.
Maximizing Profitability in Your Business
Janelle is the founder of the award winning bakery The Cake Mamas, located in the Los Angeles area! In 2009, after being laid off from a failed company, she traded in her corporate job to give entrepreneurship a try and alongside her husband’s EX, Fabiola Gomez, The Cake Mamas was born. Eventually the pair outgrew their home based business, then opened their first retail specialty bakery, and went on to win Cupcake Wars on Food Network. The pair ended their partnership within the first year of opening, and Janelle continued to manage and grow the brand with 15 employees. She continued to appear on several Food Network shows which she won a bunch, and lost a bunch too!
After 12 years in the food and baking industry she hung up her apron, sold her shop and now leads a tribe of thousands of creators, treat makers and business owners from around the world who are looking for knowledge on how to start, build and grow profitable businesses they love. Through her business courses, she shows business owners how to create a business that generates real, sustainable profit so that you can stop working yourself to death and start getting back to why you started your business in the first place. She coaches and teaches, specifically on Branding, Marketing, Pricing and most importantly developing CONFIDENCE in SALES.
Along with her courses, Janelle is the co-host of the PUSH Podcast alongside her husband Eddie and hosts entrepreneurial retreats in different cities across the U.S. throughout the year. She also has a Facebook community dedicated to fostering business growth and success.
While she’s not coaching, you can believe Janelle will be doing anything involving her five favorite F words: Faith, Family, Fitness, Food and Founder!
Fondant Pattern Cake Technique (Hands-On)
I’ve always loved art and creative expression, so it was an easy choice to study art in college, where I received my BA in Art Education with an emphasis in drawing and painting. While I began my professional career teaching art at the high-school level, with some clothing design on the side, my path turned to the cake world over a decade ago.
Cake artistry enables me to focus my artistic skills and creativity into one sweet and delicious medium and I love channeling my passion into my profession. Currently, most of my creative energy is dedicated to developing cake tutorials on various social media platforms, where my goal is to develop new decorating techniques through experimentation and inspire others to do the same.
Perfect Pies (Hands-On)
Erin Jeanne McDowell is a cookbook author, recipe developer, and food stylist with a specialized focus in baking. Her recipes have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Food Network, and more. She hosts the digital series Bake It Up a Notch for Food52. Her first book, The Fearless Baker, was released in 2017 and was named one of the best baking books of the year by The New York Times. Her latest, The Book on Pie, is a New York Times Bestseller.
Camera and Photo Editing Basics (Primarily for DSLR Cameras)
Dessert Styling and Photography Composition
Hi! My name is Tessa Huff, and I am a two-time cookbook author and food photographer. I started decorating cakes at a local bakery in Northern California 15 years ago before moving to Vancouver, Canada. Along the way, I picked up a camera to document the journey and completely fell in love with food styling/photography. You can find my recipes and images on my website, newsletter (bakeclub.stylesweet.com) and in my cookbooks, Layered and Icing on the Cake.
How to Make Italian Macarons (Hands-On)
How to Grow on TikTok Without Being on Camera
Lindsey is a cupcake content creator who’s seen rapid growth and success on TikTok with over 2.7 million followers. With a background in advertising as a Creative Director, she’s applied her knowledge of digital video best practices to her own social media brand.
Britt is a vegan food blogger, cake lover, runner, cat mama, cookbook author, food photographer, and recipe developer. She specializes in transforming traditional baking techniques into vegan ones.
Isomalt, Modeling Chocolate, and More! (Hands-On)
Creating Social Media Content That Converts to Sales
Natasha Orumbie is no ordinary Baking Business Coach! She has over 12 years in the baking business game and generations of experience before that!
Her creative bakes have seen her featured in The Guardian, Huffington Post and too many other online publications to name and now she is focusing on sharing her craft and expertise with you!
Teaching runs through her veins; she now has over twenty years teaching children, right through to adults in a range of subjects so she knows how to really break it down y’all!
Her students in The Baker Squad can attest to her down-to-earth, humorous and humble approach that gets them to their destination with tough love and God-centred methods! When she’s not in the kitchen, you’ll find her either singing praise and worship with her band Relentless Love, or trying to master the latest dance moves!
How to Fix the Most Common Cake Fails
Katelyn has been baking up a storm since her first lemon cake with pink sprinkles on her 11th birthday.
The daughter of a magician and a ballet teacher, Katelyn has an eye for art and energy for life that has made Sweet Kate Bakery a tasty, unique, beautiful business and community.
Katelyn has made thousands of custom cakes, cupcakes, cookies and more for party-goers of Utah.
She has a degree in Entrepreneurship, over 125K followers on Instagram and has enjoyed sharing her love for baking on regular local tv segments. Along with managing a busy kitchen, she coaches business owners in social media growth and building their business confidence through knowledge with a variety of classes.
Her goal is to help others by baking up success in cake, business, and a happier day for all those that come across her content.
Buttercream Cupcake Decorating Techniques (Hands-On)
Monica Landes is a homegrown baker from rural Indiana with over 140,000 Instagram followers. She developed as a baker from watching and helping her mom in the kitchen as a little girl. From that early age, her passion for baking was born.
Baking has become her artistic outlet. She enjoys spending her days baking and designing cupcakes and cakes. She loves working both cute and elegant designs into her baking projects. It’s her passion to learn from other bakers as well as encourage and inspire others through her experiences and videos.
Opening a Brick-And-Mortar Bakery
Jenell Parsons was over her day job and ready for the next adventure when she decided to take her hobby of making pie into a business. She opened the multi-award winning The Pie Hole in 2011. Since then, there has been no stopping what Guy Fieri called their “whole different level of pie,” as Jenell has expanded the business to multiple locations.
Jenell lives in Vancouver with her husband, daughter and dogs. Her most recent book, “You Wanna Piece of Me?” is available for purchase now.
Color Theory (Hands-On)
Baking runs in Ben’s family. As the third of nine siblings, Ben followed in the footsteps of his older brother by getting a job at a local bakery in Baltimore while still in high school. Then, after moving to Boston to study math, Ben continued to work at another bakery during all his years in college and graduate school. It was there that he continued to hone his technical skills and began testing and developing recipes.
Now living in Los Angeles, Ben is a middle and high school math teacher. He incorporates baking into his lessons for his students, devoting entire units to learning math concepts through real-world baking examples. In addition to incorporating baking into the daily curriculum, Ben also teaches a course on the math and science of baking, breaking down baking into its fundamental parts and performing experiments to better understand the interplay of ingredients, mixing methods, and heat. Over breaks and summer vacation, Ben is back in the bakery, continuing to learn and practice his craft.
He also creates content for TikTok, aiming to share his passion for baking with bakers of all experience levels.
Creating Wafer Paper Flowers (Hands-On)
Julián Ángel was born in Colombia. He is always searching for inspiration from anywhere based on his experience as a designer, social media manager, photographer, and product designer. Julián Ángel began his adventure in 2015 via his amateur baking and food photography passion with “Historias del Ciervo.” That project combines different areas of visual art and home baking with a completely global vision accessible to anyone, crossing language and cultural barriers thanks to the use of visual narratives. It makes the most of social media to teach, transcend and innovate.
Julian Angel has already hosted workshops all over the world, including Medellín, Bogotá, Barcelona, Paris, Jakarta, Abu Dhabi, Buenos Aires, San José, Singapore, Bangkok, Miami, New York, Monterrey, Ciudad de México, Lima, Montevideo, San Salvador, Riyadh, Santiago de Chile, and Dubai.
TBD (June 2022 Recorded Course)
A native of Guadalajara Mexico, Chef Amado began his career at the age of 16 selling churros in the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico. He moved to Michigan to study culinary arts and graduated from GRCC in 1992, he then traveled to Europe and worked at Belgium to develop his knowledge of classical European Pastry and chocolate.
He returned to US in 1994 and worked as Executive Pastry Chef in various fine dining establishments. Currently he runs the Culinary Management Program at Lake Michigan College, MI, where he develops curriculum, teaches classes and coaches students for national and international competitions. He owns Luis Amado Chocolate Academy in Stevensville, Michigan where he offers personalized and small group chocolate classes to students from around the globe. His chocolate work has been featured in numerous magazines including The ACF National Culinary Review, Revista Dulcypass and the prestigious So Good Magazine.
Chef Amado is very passionate about competitions, he has more than 22 gold medals and 6 best of shows awards from highly recognized competitions including the “1996 culinary Olympics” in Berlin Germany, The 2000 National Dessert Competition, Numerous ACF Approved Culinary Arts Salons, The Great Lakes Regional 1999-2003, and most recently the 2017 AUI Chocolate Cup in Washington DC.
In the summer months, he travels to Europe, The Middle East, and Latin America to teach workshops and seminars to professional chefs and serious chocolate enthusiasts.
Nominated as Buttercream Artist of the Year in Australia 2020, Kendra is obsessed with all things buttercream! But these aren’t your average cakes, she is constantly pushing the boundaries, thinking outside the box and always looks beyond trends and aims to set her own!
Johany is a Chicago, IL native now residing in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johany has been baking since she was 8 years old with her mom, who owned a bakery. She was in the medical field for over 10 years and didn’t have much time for baking. After her first child was born, she was a stay at home mom and got right back into baking and the rest is history.
Johany has been featured in Cake Masters, Seventeen, and Wilton Cakes. She has taught thousands of students all over the world. Johany has taught cakesicle classes for Liz Marek’s Sugar Geek School and TryHungry. She is currently a cakesicle instructor for Yolanda Gampp’s How To Cake live baking courses!
Basque-born, Aran Goyoaga is an award-winning author, photographer, and professionally trained pastry chef. She is a three-time James Beard finalist.
Aran’s new cookbook, Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple (Sasquatch), has been named as best of 2021 by Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Food 52, Epicurious, and more. Aran’s second cookbook, Cannelle et Vanille: Nourishing, Gluten-Free Recipes for Every Meal and Mood, was a 2019 James Beard Award finalist. Aran’s work has been featured in New York Times, Good Morning America, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Food 52, NBC News, ELLE, and more.
Aran lives in Seattle with her family.
Food Safety for Bakers
Felix Amiri has several years of hands-on and corporate management experience in food safety and quality assurance.
He serves as the Technical Director at AFISS. Felix provides food safety, quality assurance and general operations development assistance to companies. He teaches International Food Law and Regulations as part of a post-graduate certificate program in Food Safety and Quality Assurance at Conestoga College. Felix leads the development and implementation of the Safety, Security and Quality Assurance (SSQA) concept. Among his published works are the SSQA Implementation Manual, Food Protection Diaries, FSQA–Efficacy versus Compliance and FSQA-Commitment Plans for National & International Regulations.
Advanced Macarons (Hands-On)
Fred is a scientist who loves to bake and recently started pastry school. He specializes in creating innovative, delicious, and fun macaron art.
Lauren is a graphic designer-turned-cookier obsessed with creating more joy in life and in the kitchen. She decorated her first cookie when she was going through the hardest years of her life. After having a baby with a serious medical condition, her life changed in an instant. Her son’s needs were so tremendous that she left her graphic design career and became his around-the-clock caretaker. Eventually, she found some stability, and decided to bring something into her life that was just for her – cookie decorating!
After successfully growing her own home bakery she took her business online in 2020 and began reaching cookie class-goers worldwide. As her courses exploded with growth, so did her community and followers. While expanding her class repertoire, she applied her natural nurturing tendencies to foster an environment that skyrocketed engagement, tripled profit, and left her with die hard fans for life.
Now, she gets to share her secrets to growing a Facebook group, leveling up and mastering techniques, and growing a profitable home-based cookie business to thousands of fellow Cookiers at Lolly’s Home Kitchen with her courses like Cookie Camp and Dough Makers, popular recipes, and creative themed decorating classes. Her goal is to inspire everyone to jump in and choose to have more fun and joy in life through cookies!
Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, is the mother of three amazing kids (Norah, 10, Porter, 8, and Micah, 6), claims her role as a CHD heart mom, and is married to her soul mate and best friend, Preston.
How to Price Your Baked Goods
Brette made her first wedding cake six years ago, and that began her journey as a home baker. And it was a bumpy one! She’s now making a full-time income from her home-based bakery @hobblecreekcakeco, and has had her work featured by Wilton, American Cake Decorating Magazine, and Cake Masters, to name a few. Now she’s determined to be the resource for other bakers that she wishes she had had when starting her home baking business.
Brette graduated with her undergraduate degree in Food Science Industry Management. She also spent time working in a commercial bakery. All of these experiences combine to make her a powerful source of knowledge to other bakers trying to make this business thing work. Brette runs @the.outofhome.baker as a place where bakers can find resources to take their businesses to the next level.
When she’s not baking or coaching, she’s taking care of her two little boys, out for a run, or enjoying time with other momma cakers in the neighborhood.
How to Temper Chocolate and Make Chocolate Bars (Hands-On)
Colorado Cocoa Pod was started in the spring of 2019 by chocolatier Liane Pensack-Rinehart. Liane was a software engineer before deciding to go back to pastry school at Johnson & Wales Denver. Her first course was Chocolates & Confections, where she learned about real chocolate, not the waxy and sugary ‘chocolate’ she grew up with as a child, and fell in love! At the end of her schooling, Liane interned at an artisan chocolate shop, where she learned how to make the beautiful molded bonbons and first started testing out Asian-inspired chocolate flavors and combinations. Due to the shop closing, Liane decided to start Colorado Cocoa Pod, eventually quitting as a software engineer and working for others to make chocolates full-time.
Many of the flavors of Colorado Cocoa Pod are of Asian influence – these are flavors of desserts that Liane grew up with and pair very well with chocolate, such as pandan, matcha, black sesame, and ube. They aren’t overly sweet, and Liane works to balance the flavor profiles so that they aren’t under or overwhelming, but the perfect two bites of flavor and happiness! Each bonbon is hand painted and made with Fair Trade chocolate, beautiful, delicious, but never too pretty to eat!
Naimita Jagasia is an internationally recognised vegan pastry chef and founder of India’s first luxury vegan patisserie, “An Ode To Gaia.” She isn’t just the owner of a bakery, but an educator and mentor to over 600 students and emerging chefs across the globe, an innovation-based recipe developer, food designer, and a pioneer in the field of modern plant-based patisserie. From curating seasonal recipes to her globally popular online classes, Chef Naimita has a vision to bring veganism to the forefront of the global pastry industry, and radically change the misconceptions surrounding plant-based desserts. If there’s one thing she can do, it’s make you question all that you know about dessert and literally say out loud, “No way that’s vegan!!”