Carolin Messier: Pastry Chef, Entrepreneur, Sensualist, and Catalyst
Most of my childhood and youth I worked towards the misguided goal of becoming a physician, but my journey to become a Pastry Chef was already underway by the age of eight when I baked my first cake without adult assistance. It was from a Duncan Hines cake mix and the inspiration for the design came from an Easter recipe in Family Circle magazine. By twelve I was attempting strawberry soufflés after watching Julia Child. For my 18th birthday I set the table for 8 with the family china, invited seven friends, prepared a multi-course dinner and convinced my parents to dress in black and white and act as servers. During my sophomore year while studying micro biology at UofW, I skipped a mid-term because I needed more time to prep the seven course dinner I was cooking for friends… on a hot plate! Finally three years later I woke up to my true passion, went to culinary school and began working my way through the kitchens of Seattle.
In 1998 my former partner and I opened a little specialty food store as an extension of our growing catering company. The neighborhood had other ideas. They wanted to stay for dinner, so we quickly evolved into a tiny 16 seat restaurant- The Harvest Vine. I’ve worked every job and kitchen station except that of head chef: from tile layer and plumber to host, bookkeeper and pastry chef. It has expanded three times since its opening and now seats 70. In 2007 I opened txori on my own. I sadly closed it in 2009, a casualty of the economy, but the experience finally made me realize that I am an Entrepreneur.
In my work as in life, experiencing the world through all of my senses is the only way I know how to live, a true Sensualist. Being a cook is the sole profession I can think of which engages all five, all of the time. Food is not merely sustenance, but a pleasure- one of life’s greatest. Life will always throw us challenges; it’s important to enjoy its pleasures as much as possible. I’m committed to doing just that, daily.
As a Catalyst I make things happen. Most of the time they are small things, barely noticeable even to me. But sometimes a small gesture can have a great effect, even change the world. I hope that the stories I tell and the images I show here encourage you to sit down and share a table with someone. That will make all the difference.
If you’d like to read more of my work on other topics, visit my writer’s blog Writes With Pencils.