George Brown Chef School Alumn Jenna Placey

A career that takes the cake!

Baking - Pre-Employment Program - H108
Graduated in 2011

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Jenna Placey was working for a marketing company when she decided she wanted more control over her career. The idea of starting her own business appealed, but she was initially unsure of what to focus on. “I was baking a lot at the time and inspiration struck – I’d become a baker!” remembers Jenna. “When I was young, I baked with my grandmother, and I’ve always loved it. It was a drastic switch from business which is what I studied at university, but it felt like a more natural fit.”

Jenna enrolled in the one-year Baking – Pre-Employment Program at George Brown to add formal baking training to her existing skills. “I learned the proper way to do things, for instance that it’s more accurate to use scales instead of cups for measuring,” she explains. “The teachers are all professionals who share their tricks. It was exciting to learn so many different things every day.”

After graduating last January, Jenna named her company The Investment Baker in a nod to her dramatic career change, and hit the ground running by using social networking and word-of-mouth to quickly build a profile. She made an early strategic decision that all of her cakes would be nut-free, a piece of niche marketing that has paid off.

As a sole proprietor, Jenna handles the logistics of her business in addition to baking and decorating all of the products, each one a totally unique creation. She has words of encouragement for likeminded George Brown students looking to marry a passion for food with entrepreneurship. “It can be challenging but it’s very rewarding,” she says. “The thing I love the most is the satisfaction of people enjoying what I’ve created -when they say ‘Not only did the cake look amazing, it tasted amazing’ – there’s nothing better than that!”