The Baking of a Businesswoman
Jenna Huntsberger is living out every amateur foodie’s dream. She’s gone from office wonk to food blogger to professional baker. Her blog, Modern Domestic, has inspired her to get serious, partnering with fellow blogger Stephanie Willis of Adventures in Shaw to launch Whisked! a bakery order business and market stand at one of Washington, D.C.’s most popular farmers’ markets.
Jenna’s story is one that proves food bloggers are not just whiny arm chair critics but people with real talent and love of food. I talked to Jenna on how she came to be co-founder of Whisked!
You went from being a full-time office employee and part-time blogger to real-world baker. What made you take the plunge?
I was really miserable doing office work. It’s not necessarily that I worked for a bad company but I get really bored with a desk job. It never seemed immediate to me. I went to a food networking event and I met the owner of Treet, a bakery in D.C. She was living my fantasy, she was running her own baking business, being her own boss and she loved what she did. Theresa was looking to hire a baker and I asked if she’d consider me. She didn’t think you needed to go to pastry school to be a good baker, which she did but didn’t think it was relevant. I told my job I was going to do a part-time baking job but they were against it, so I quit.
Theresa’s husband got a job in New York so she moved her business there, which is why Treet no longer exists in D.C.
You also worked in the kitchen at Birch & Barley, why didn’t you stay there?
I had interviewed Tiffany MacIsaac, who was the pastry chef at Birch & Barley at the time and she offered for me to come in and try out in the kitchen, which resulted in me getting hired. I worked there for a couple of months, it was a great opportunity and I learned so much. Although it wasn’t for me, very long hours and really intense. I didn’t like the pressure of plating things for service, not the kind of environment I work well in. I wish I had liked it. If I had have stayed I’d have learned even more.
I also work with a guy on the Big Cheese Truck, and he loves working on the Big Cheese. He’s like, ‘I want to own a food truck, that’s what I want to do.’ That’s how I felt about Treet, so when I was thinking about what my next move was after Treet closed all I was thinking about was how I was really sad that I wasn’t baking.
Where do you bake out of?
Stephanie and I bake out of the kitchen of 1905. We get in there mid-week at 4 in the morning before their chef gets in the kitchen at noon. It’s not ideal but it works for us.
What can we expect from Whisked!?
Stephanie and I want to focus on and easily mass produce comfort foods you remember growing up with. Our product line will be classic baked goods — cookies, brownies, cream bars and cake orders. We’ll also be selling savory tarts like goat cheese. That sort of thing.
Whisked! can be found at the 14th & U St Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, 9am-1pm.