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.

 “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”
-Dalai Lama

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.

12 thoughts on “Profile”

  1. Harvest Vine has been the location of some of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life. And it isn’t just that it may well be the finest food in Seattle; it’s the quiet table in the basement we share with friends. It’s the four hour meal you’re sad to leave.
    Thank you


  2. Third picture down,so avant–garde.


    • Just me overjoyed with delight at the delicious mussels I was eating at one of my favorite places in Seattle, Cafe Presse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The perfect hat for that very thing.


      • My mother blames the book “Rosalie the Bird Market Turtle”, (copyright 1962) a children’s picture book full of hip, modern drawings of Paris, for my fascination with and love of France. Spills over into my clothing choice on occasion.


      • My style is what ever “they” decide isn’t cool. It’s like they follow me around and when ever I decide I like something they put out the word that it’s the most uncool thing to come down the pike.


      • These couple of little comments of yours have inspired me to begin a piece I’ve been working on this morning. I thought it was going to be a simple little memoir vignette that I’d post within an hour or two. It’s turning into something else entirely. I feel like I’ve slid down the rabbit hole and am very curious where I’ll end up. Thanks for the inspiration.


      • They happen like that. “Sheba” stated out when one editor prompted me with, “Tell us a story about your dog.” I worked on it for six months and sent it to him and never heard from him again. LOL I knew it wasn’t what he had in mind, but it was what needed to come out. Go for it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice! Going your own way is the coolest thing of all. “They” could never hope to be that cool; they travel in judgmental packs.


  4. Wish we had “met” before my family’s trip to Seattle last year. We would have loved sharing a meal of your Basque cuisine, a type of food we have never tried before.


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