Jenny enrolled in the Baking and Pastry Program at Chicago’s Kendall College, just after graduating from high school, on a whim. Knowing she wasn’t ready to enter college proper, she decided, “If I like baking, I’ll have a job; if I don’t, I’ll know how to make great birthday cakes—where’s the harm?” Lucky for Jenny, she fell in love with the kitchen and landed positions in a variety of Chicago’s top restaurants, including Charlie Trotter’s, Blackbird, Gordon and Bittersweet Bakery. It was in these kitchens where Jenny learned to refine her palate and develop her talent for composing seasonal desserts.
Following her formative experiences in fine dining, Jenny took a brief hiatus from professional baking and traveled to various countries in Europe, South and Central America to broaden her culinary vocabulary. With an interest in food beyond the kitchen, she also returned to school and completed a BA in Food Writing at DePaul University.
When Jenny returned to the pastry kitchen, it was in New Orleans. There, she had the opportunity to oversee three restaurant pastry departments for Emeril Lagasse, as well as contribute weekly to the Cooking Blog at Emerils.com. While working at Emeril's Delmonico, Jenny was a nominee for the PastryScoop.com Best Dessert Menu Award in 2006. It wasn’t long, however, before she felt the pull of New York City’s vibrant culinary scene; she moved north a few years later.
Since her arrival, Jenny’s worked in New York City as the opening pastry chef at Marc Forgione, and for A Voce, where she ran pastry operations for both their Madison Square and Columbus Circle locations. She then moved on to work for Tom Colicchio at his flagship restaurant, Craft, where she was influenced by her varied pastry background and knowledge of ingredients and flavors. In September 2011, ten years after Craft opened, she helped the restaurant earn its second three-star review from The New York Times. She was also awarded the 2011 NYC Rising Star Pastry Chef Award from StarChefs.com.
In 2012, Jenny stepped out of professional kitchen to co-found Cissé Trading Company, a line of gourmet and fair trade hot cocoa and baking mixes; and to work with leading companies such as Starbucks, the Almond Board of California, and Chinet as a tastemaker and brand ambassador. A year later, her products can be found in 500+ stores nationally, including Whole Foods Market.
Currently, Jenny is a chef-instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education (ICE); just published her first cookbook, Desserts for Every Season; is the co-chair of The Center for Advanced Pastry Studies (CAPS) at ICE; volunteers to help change school lunch programs in the NYC Department of Education with Wellness in the Schools; and is eagerly awaiting the launch of her online class series at Craftsy.com. Jenny also consults with small food producers to help them commercialize their products for grocery store sales. Throughout her career, Jenny has appeared in many print and media outlets for her work as an authority in the baking and pastry industry.