A cashier’s job with Chartwells and a love of baking have forged a creative career start in the baking and catering business for Molly Christine ’13. Her talents resulted in Chartwells (the College’s food service provider) introducing the Molly’s Bakery brand, which identifies her cookies, cakes and popular cake pops that have been sold on campus during the past year. Starting in September, she will be a full-time employee of Chartwells, expanding upon the product line she bakes in the Kaufman Dining Hall bakery. She’s been given the freedom to experiment with dessert items that are both popular with students and have potential for marketing under her brand.
“I’ve always loved baking so I decided to go for it,” says Christine. “I started working as a cashier for Chartwells but then got more involved with food and catering.”
Christine developed her talents by majoring in art at North Central. After discovering an interest in food preparation, she also attended pastry and culinary courses. A.J. Schuler, director of marketing for Chartwells, asked her to experiment with new bakery items to find what would be popular with students. “It’s been a learning experience and I try to get feedback,” she says. “So far, I’ve had good luck with s’mores bars, peanut butter cup bars, chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and jumbo red velvet cupcakes.”
On Valentine’s Day, students could buy 9-inch cookie cakes decorated with a greeting. They also like her small layer cakes sold at the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café. Catering customers frequently request her cake pops (pictured).
The partnership with Chartwells has been an unexpected success for Christine. “It’s been a whirlwind,” she says. “I haven’t finished pastry school yet but I’m creating and marketing my own dessert line. It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Schuler foresees opportunities for marketing Molly’s Bakery off campus. “We’re treating Molly’s Bakery brand as a unique entity,” says Schuler. “We’re exploring expansion to take it retail into the Naperville market. At this point, the sky’s the limit.”