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Daily Inspiration: Meet Alexis Clark

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alexis Clark.

Hi Alexis, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
I’m originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. As far back as I can remember, I was in the kitchen cooking with my dad. He had a step stool that I would stand on so I could see over the counter. My father cooked but did not bake. If he wanted something baked, he would have me do it. My grandmother was the baker.

Whenever I would spend my summers with her in Mississippi, I would watch her in the kitchen. I never really thought of cooking or baking as “a gift” in my childhood. It was just what I did to help out around the house because my parents were so busy trying to earn a living. I joined the military in 1999. As a single mom, at the time, I worked very hard and usually didn’t have the time or energy to cook a lot of homemade meals for my daughter.

I felt incredibly guilty about this and decided to change things. I still didn’t have a lot of time to cook during the week but I decided my daughter and I would have a traditional sit-down, Sunday Southern meal. Dessert and all. In 2011, I got married and my family of 2 became a family of 5. In 2013, my husband deployed to Afghanistan. I was still on Active Duty and had to care for 3 children by myself.

I wanted to make things as normal if not special for them as much as possible while their dad was away for the first time in their lives. I had always cooked for my family but I decided we would have extra special family time on Friday nights. I would not only cook, but I would also make a special dessert. Up until that point, I was definitely cooking but homemade desserts were a rare occasion.

Each week I challenged myself with something new and the kids loved it. I discovered I loved making desserts. As I baked more and more, I fell in love with the pastry arts. I began to share what I baked. I started getting requests and people offering to pay for my desserts. In 2014, one of my dearest friends encouraged me to get serious and start my official business.

She herself, had a jewelry business. I decided to go for it. In 2014, “Galadriel’s was born(my actual middle name. I was named after the Elf Queen in Lord of the Rings). I separated from the military and began learning as much as I could about baking. 2018, I was awarded “Best of Weddings” in San Antonio for “The Knot”. That year, I was also invited to go on a local San Antonio daytime show called KSAT Live.

I’ve now been on their show, giving dessert demos, at least 10 times. My chocolate chip cookies went viral on Twitter in 2019 and I’ve been featured in an online magazine. I started giving private dessert tutorials on Zoom. And in April 2021, I started Culinary school for the Pastry Arts.

I finished my diploma program in June 2022. In July 2022, I started the degree program. I am still selling, sharing, and teaching all things dessert. It is my heart and my passion.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. I have never worked for anyone else in this industry so I have literally just been researching and figuring things out as I go. I have a small community of friends(all women) with their own businesses, so we pass along information to each other as we learn.

I have always been a cottage law baker. There are so many do’s and dont’s about what I can and cannot bake. I am also limited in who I can sell to. I eventually want to bake out of a commercial kitchen in order to broaden my business. Until 2021, I was self-taught. Baking is absolutely scientific. There are so many things that can affect the outcome of your final product.

You have to pay attention and be aware of a lot. So needless to say, there is a lot of trial and error in baking. The beginning of a new year is the worst time of year for a Pastry Chef. People have usually made resolutions to be healthier. I have a lot of free time in January.

And probably one of the biggest frustrations is people don’t like to pay for desserts. lol. People will pay lots of money for food but are very hesitant to pay for a quality dessert.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am an all-around Pastry Chef. I can do a lot. But I am most known for my layered cakes, baked cheesecakes, and my cookies. I can’t pick any one thing I am proud of.

I am proud of it all. Lol. I say that because I love to learn. I love improving my craft. I am self-taught so when I look back at my work in the beginning and compare it to what I do now… I have come a long way. And I’m still not where I want to be but I’m having fun on the journey.

If I never sold another dessert, I’d still be happy. The expressions on people’s faces when they bite into one of my desserts are what keep me going. I want it to be a yummy and beautiful experience and one that everyone can have.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
My mom says I was a straight-up extrovert growing up. I’m definitely not anymore unless I know you.

I’ve always been sassy. Always loyal. I’ve always loved reading, history and learning in general. I’ve always loved to laugh and make people laugh. I’ve always felt things deeply.

I’ve always loved music. I’ve always loved good food and family.

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