Today we’d like to introduce you to Stacey Wenger.
Stacey, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up in a big family; my mom, my dad, and my five sisters – one being my twin. As you can imagine, with six girls, it was a very energetic household. There was always something going on. Lots of fun. We were also fortunate enough to have our Grandma Mac living with us. We loved her so much, and she loved us even more – and she loved to bake. She instilled in me a love for baking and making people happy from the very beginning. I recall spending hours in the kitchen with her watching her work her magic. She taught me so much, never criticizing my little mistakes, only telling me how good I was doing. That lesson in the power of positive affirmation remains with me today. Though she’s gone now, I know she’s still watching over me, especially in the kitchen.
In my teens, I began working in a small produce store in Orange County. We were all like family, and it was one of my best memories. I used to bring in baked goods at least weekly, sometimes even more. I would always be trying something new, using a lot of the little tricks my grandma taught me. Then, one day, one of my coworkers asked if I would make his wedding cake. Scariest question ever! It was the biggest day in his life and I didn’t want to royally screw it up. Sure, I’ve done a lot of baking, but never a wedding cake! I voiced a weak “okay,” even though, inside, I was terrified. Well, it came out pretty good, and my confidence received a major boost. From then on, I started making more elaborate treats and baked goods for different events. I bought every baking book out there, and I just kept learning more and more.
After some years there, I decided I need to think about a career. Many of my family members were working in law enforcement and that interested me, as did working in the legal field, but I also thought I would enjoy teaching. So, off I went to Cal State Fullerton, where I completed my BS degree in Child and Adolescent Development. Graduating with honors – magna cum laude – I was well on my way to a teaching career. As I began student teaching, as much as I wanted to continue, I realized it was not my passion. So, I decided to leave the program and continue pursuing what I really enjoyed: baking. I started making cakes and other fun treats for weddings, birthdays, retirements – all word of mouth.
Then, one day, I was introduced to a remarkable lady, Shere Ermililo. Shere owns Vita Perfetta, a very successful high-end event planning company. We hit it off. I began working with her and her team and have loved every moment of it. We’ve done many amazing events. Recently, I even created an “eye” cake for a music video.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Although I’ve had lots of support, I remember hearing from one of my professors that if I ever decided not to teach, I would regret it. I was super-conflicted after hearing that. Was I doing the right thing? Was “pursuing my passion” really worth it? Well, I made the decision to power forward and do what I enjoyed. And I haven’t regretted it since.
One piece of advice: always be true to your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it, even if it means getting 30 minutes of sleep, sitting on a jury, then driving 75 miles to an event, you keep your word. (Yes, that was me last week, and that event was one of the most inspiring ever.)
Please tell us about being a Cake Artist.
I specialize in the art of detail. I have been told that everything I create not only looks wonderful but is equally wonderful tasting. Hearing that always make my day. Some of the creations I make are realistically sculpted cakes of all types, designer cupcakes, and so much more; from edible terrariums to shortbread geode cookies that look just like freshly opened geodes, with their crystals sparkling beautifully in the light. I try to make everything whimsical and magical.
- Instagram: @realdutchgirl
- Other: www.vitaperfetta.com
Both images of me courtesy of Lillian Hathaway @lillianhathaway