MATC Baking and Pastry Arts Students Show They’re the Cream of Crop

Bakers take home medals and trophies from the 2024 Wisconsin Food & Hospitality Expo

Mark Feldmann,

April 04, 2024

Baking Winners
Christina Cooke
Jaelen Alboyd
Lineishka Pinales
Alexander Jordan
Cupcake Sign
Paige Rohrbach

Now in her third semester in Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, Christy Pelletier is heating it up in the kitchen.

As a girl growing up in Michigan, she taught herself how to bake cakes, cookies, brownies and all sorts of other sweet treats. But since starting at MATC in January 2023, her baking game has risen to a whole new level.

christy-pelletier.png“I definitely have improved my technical skills, and I am feeling pretty good about my abilities,” Pelletier said. “I’m trying new recipes, having grace with myself when I mess up and even tapping into my artistic talent. It has been all about building my skills and my confidence.”

Her confidence got a huge boost on March 13 when she was one of eight MATC students to win awards at a Wisconsin Bakers Association competition held at the 2024 Wisconsin Food & Hospitality Expo.

Pelletier entered two competitions and won the Best in Show award and Judge’s Choice award for her blondie brownies, and a gold medal in a cookie design challenge.

“I have kind of perfected my gluten-free blondie brownie, so I think winning something for that mattered more to me,” Pelletier said. “I feel really good when people can’t tell that it’s gluten-free.”

Along with Pelletier, seven other MATC students took home awards:

  • Jaelen Peterson Alboyd, People’s Choice award in Kooky Cookie Cutter Challenge
  • Christina Cooke, silver medal and Judge’s Choice award in Best Brownies (classic)
  • Alexander Jordan, gold medal in Creative Cake Decorating
  • Lineishka Pinales, bronze medal in Extreme Wedding Cake Challenge
  • Paige Rohrbach, gold medal and Judge’s Choice award in Best Browns (nuts)
  • Arriana Thomas, bronze medal in Extreme Wedding Cake Challenge
  • Faith Yang, silver medal in Extreme Wedding Cake Challenge

At the Food & Hospitality Expo, which was held at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center in West Allis, more than 40 entrants competed in decorating cakes, baking brownies, frosting cookies and enhancing wedding cakes. 

Entrants were placed by skill level into one of three categories: college students, industry novice —anyone with up to two years’ experience — and industry professionals.

“We were so impressed by how incredibly talented all the entrants were,” said Jessica Hoover of the Wisconsin Bakers Association. “Every single entry demonstrated talent, skills and creativity. This year’s competitors really impressed the judges and wowed the attendees.”

The expo had nearly 200 exhibits from food, beverage, equipment and service companies from all across the nation. Also included was a pastry pavilion, where local chefs, including MATC instructors Andy Schneider and Kurt Fogle, held hands-on demonstrations.

MATC baking instructor Holly Baumann and several baking students, including Pelletier, created a 6-by-8-foot sign out of 1,200 cupcakes as a welcome at the expo’s front entrance. 

Baumann made the cupcakes several weeks ahead of the event, frosted them in three different colors and kept them in a cooler at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus. On the day of the expo, she placed them in 13 boxes, transported them to State Fair Park and assembled the sign.

“It was a great event. MATC represented well,” said Michelle Evans, chef instructor and lead faculty of the college’s Baking and Pastry Arts program.

Pelletier, who worked and served in the military before coming to MATC, hopes to earn her associate degree in December and start her own business making gluten-free desserts and baked goods. 

“I baked a lot as a kid, but I left it for a while,” she said. “Then I made some desserts for a relative, and I remembered how much I loved it.”

Learn about MATC’s Baking and Pastry Arts program

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.