For One Newly Graduated Chef, There Is Life After Nabisco Layoff

(CBS) — They pursued their sweet dreams.

Several dozen students graduated today from Chicago’s French Pastry School. But the road there isn’t always what you’d expect.

CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has more on the people who found their recipe for success.

Their sugary creations are about as sweet as they come — and so are the chefs who made them.

But the road to graduation from the French pastry school can be bittersweet. Take Mercedes Gutierez, for example.

She was among the roughly 300 workers displaced when Chicago’s Nabisco plant transferred some operations to Mexico.

“I was pretty sad and nervous to start,” she says.

An Oreo is not a fancy pastry, but Guitierz was proud to make them. So, she hunted down grant programs for displaced workers that would pay for a top-notch culinary education.

“I love making stuff from scratch,” she says.

Maggy Pierre Saint-Vil found strength in baking, after her husband, a Haitian police officer, was murdered.

Raising five children, and speaking little English, she only found work as a maid.

For six months, she balanced six hours of morning pastry classes with 8 hours of evening maid work.

“I feel comfortable now when I stand in the kitchen,” she says.

 

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