Student Spotlight: Tiffany Lewis
Major: Culinary Arts
When Tiffany Lewis graduated from high school, she didn’t go to college. Instead, she married, had a family and started a career, and she was happy with her decisions.
But the economic downturn took its toll, which left Lewis wondering what to do next. Thankfully, she received unexpected guidance from her son.
“He was graduating from high school and said, ‘Mom, you sacrifice everything for us. You should now go do what you need to do for yourself,’” she said. “That encouraged me. Now that I was sending my son to college, I decided why not go to college myself?”
Lewis enrolled at College of DuPage and decided to follow her passion for food by selecting the Culinary Arts program.
“I was able to work part-time and come to COD full-time,” she said. “I took all of my culinary classes on campus and finished all my general education requirements at the Naperville Center. I was in classrooms with younger students, but I still fit in and was engaged in the classroom setting.”
After graduating from COD, Lewis worked several catering and food service jobs – as the assistant pastry chef at City Gate Grill, where she helped to create pastries and desserts for the restaurant and special events, and at the new Marriott in Naperville, where she helped open the Artisan Table restaurant. It was here where she truly fell in love with pastries.
“The art and the creation that is made through desserts impressed me so much that I started baking at home,” she said. “I went back to COD to take a Cake Decorating and Entrepreneur class to enhance my skills with the hope of having my own business someday, where I can do what I love.”
She has done just that. While working full-time at Enercon Services, Lewis launched BabyCakes by Tiffany, a home-based business where she can create in her kitchen. She just celebrated her second anniversary and her business continues to grow.
“I developed the name BabyCakes because in the past, most of my clients would tell me that the desserts were very good but they weren’t able to finish it all. Chefs do not like waste, so I thought to myself, what if I create sweet treats in small bites.”
In 2015, she was featured in the Naperville Sun. The article led to further opportunities, such as being a featured dessert chef at the Family Counseling Services Food Fight 2016. In 2017, she was the featured dessert chef for iSi North America at the National Restaurant Association show at McCormick Place. She strategically created desserts that could be prepared using iSi Whippers and featured purple sweet potato mousse with toasted coconut topping, chocolate avocado mousse with a raspberry gelee on the bottom, lemon cheesecake mousse with a biscotti crumble and a strawberry topping, and lemon sponge pudding with a coconut lemon infused whipped cream topping.
Lewis continues to expand her brand and is in the process of writing a dessert cookbook.
“It can be hard juggling both a full-time job and having a home baking business on the side, but my hopes are that my baking business will take off and be successful,” she said. “I’m very proud to say that COD allowed me to follow my passion. And I thank COD for having the Naperville Center. It’s close to my home, which helped me achieve my goal.”
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2018 College of DuPage