By Emily Fedor
Kallista Pluciennik, a Dunmore High School alumna of the class of 2013, graduated from the Culinary Institute of America this past July with a degree in baking and pastry arts. And within a month of her graduation, she opened her own business: Lola’s Dessert Shop.
Currently a one-woman-show, Pluciennik is selling macarons, speciality cakes, cookies and more delicious desserts to Dunmore and beyond right out of her own home. Lola’s Dessert Shop, which is mainly operated through an online Etsy store, is sweet showcase for Pluciennik’s baking talents.
Online editor Emily Fedor caught up with the rising pastry chef (and guiltily interrupted her mid-baking) to talk about the process of opening her own business, recipe and design inspirations and, of course, her favorite sugary sweets.
Emily Fedor: How did you first get interested in baking?
Kallista Pluciennik: When I was little I would bake with my grandma, but I never really thought of that as a profession until high school. I didn’t really get into it until I started doing the bake sales and stuff. That’s when I figured out that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
EF: And when did you realize you wanted to open your own business?
KP: I was planning it while I was at school because I know around here there aren’t many jobs for what I can do. So I was looking for actual jobs maybe just to make some money. Then my plan was to move away, but then I figured why not just start my own business?
EF: Where did the shop name come from?
KP: My grandma’s name was Dolores and everyone called her Lola. So that’s why I named it Lola.
EF: What did the process of getting Lola’s off the ground entail?
KP: I did have to get my shop name approved by the state, but I did that awhile back so I could have the name. Then I got my kitchen regulated…by the Department of Agriculture so I am allowed to bake out of my house. They come, I think once a year, and they inspect your kitchen just to make sure that everything’s up to where it’s supposed to be. You pay a small fee and that’s it.
EF: And how’s the response been so far?
KP: It’s been awesome. I just love how the community is helping. A lot of people are supporting small businesses nowadays. So there was definitely a lot of support there. I’ve gotten so many views on my Etsy site, like almost 1,000 already, and I’ve gotten at least 20 orders. So to start, I think that’s really good.
EF: How have you been getting the word out there?
KP: Social media is definitely helping. I do have a Facebook account for it. I have an Instagram and my Etsy site. And then also I’m starting to do farmers’ markets where you have your own little stand.
EF: Where do you get the recipes and ideas for the baked goods you make?
KP: I use a lot of the recipes that we had from school, but I’ve adapted those to what works for me. I also get a lot of my ideas from Pinterest. There are a lot of bake shops in Australia that have some really cool ideas so I’ve been taking some from them.
EF: What’s your favorite pastry to make?
KP: Macarons. They’re really difficult to make so I feel like the fact that I’m able to make them is sort of a skill. And they’re really versatile. You can make them in any flavor, color, shape. You could do anything with them. You can even make a cake out of them. They’re really cool.
EF: What can followers expect from Lola’s in the future?
KP: Right now we’re just saving up money to find an actual space to put it in. The courthouse square would be nice because I know there are a lot of spaces for rent there. I do have some fun macaron flavors in the making, and I want to start making my own chocolates, but it’s all in time.