Mother, Nurse, Baker.
My love of cooking and baking began in my grandmother’s kitchen. As I stood on a stool so I could reach the counter, she shared her knowledge and skill. A southern lady and Home Economics teacher, her patience, love and expertise formed the foundation for my passion.
I started working in restaurants as a teenager. Believe it or not, my first job was painting the woodwork at The Kings Contrivance Restaurant! I went from bus person to prep cook to cold station cook to Pastry Chef’s assistant, where I learned the “classics” and refined my baking skills. When I finally became the “Chef Patissier”, I had already earned a reputation for myself and the restaurant as a destination for fine pastry and dessert. (I also met my wonderful husband!) After The Kings Contrivance, I had a variety culinary experiences including catering, and a short time in a wholesale high-volume pastry kitchen. There were also the free lance wedding cakes. I finally landed in a small gourmet shop in Frederick called Snaffles, working beside owner Brooke Fransen (creator of the original Butterhorn) and O.K. Johnson. So many mentors! From each of these experiences I learned a different aspect of this business and began to settle into my own style.
Bernie and I dreamed of owning a small place of our own – a shop that would be known for delicious simplicity. But in 1992 our priorities changed a bit, with baby number 1 on the way, I left professional cooking to begin my second career as a mom. During those baby years (we had 3 babies in 3 1/2 years!) I was still cooking and baking, but I was also developing another passion, women’s health.
Mom by day, nursing student by night (career #3!), I graduated from Villa Julie College in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. I worked on the night shift at Mercy Medical Center in Labor and Delivery, and then at Carroll Hospital Center. An interest in Public Health, prevention and under-served populations brought me to the Carroll County Health Department, where I currently work as a community health nurse.
As our children got older, Bernie and I had a chance to travel a bit more. Vacationing in Seattle a few summers back, we discovered The Crumpet Shop on First Street, near Pikes Market. Sitting in that charming shop, over a cup of tea and a fresh, hot, buttered crumpet we made a commitment to dust off our dream for “that place of our own” and decided to test the waters with a farmers’ market business in our hometown. JeannieBird Baking Company was born (and maybe career #4)!
Father, Scoutmaster, Wine Enthusiast.
While I was working at The Kings Contrivance Restaurant and going to school at the University of Maryland, a fine wine salesman put a glass of red wine in front of me that changed my life. ”This is amazing” I said, followed by “What is it? Who made it? Where is if from? Why does is taste like this? How much does it cost? and “How do I get a job like yours?” Jeannie and I moved to Mt. Airy, and I took a job in Westminster as a restaurant manager for a charming little seafood restaurant on West Main Street called Carroll’s Catch. Unfortunately it didn’t last long, but it gave me the entrée into the wine biz and I never looked back. I embarked on a career as a Fine Wine Specialist, ultimately working for several wine and spirit distributors and representing some of the finest wine producers and estates in the world.
While Jeannie is in the kitchen preparing our delicious sweets and savories, (I am usually sleeping…) my job include getting things ready for market day sales; updating FaceBook, answering emails, stamping bags, updating the chalkboard or pacing the floor waiting for the last Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scone to come out of the oven so I can head into town.
For the past 25 years Jeannie and I have raised a family and shared a kitchen, often musing over a delicious meal and a glass of wine about that “place of our own”. I have seen many restaurants come and go over the years, but I got a real good feeling about this one…
I also spend a fair amount of my time as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America with Troop 582 in New Windsor, Maryland. Back when my son was a boy, he and I spent many weekends hiking and camping together (which I sorely miss). Currently, I am active as an Assistant Scoutmaster and Advancement Chair as well as the Carroll District Course Director for the Klondike High Adventure Program. One of the items on my bucket list is to thru-hike all 2,100 miles of the the Appalachian Trail – GA>ME!
Fine wine has long been an avocation as well as a career. One of the ways I share my vinous passion is through the wine education classes I teach in the non-credit Life Long Learning Program at Carroll Community College. My course titles include: Wine Appreciation 101, Food, Wine & Entertaining, The Wines of Italy, Tasting the Bubbles, and Warm Winter Wines & Spirits to name a few. Keep an eye on the “Wine” tab on our website for information about upcoming dates, times and courses or check out the Non-Credit Course Catalog on the Carroll Community College website.