Anne Thornton, the host of Food Network's Dessert First with Anne Thornton, didn't realize food was her calling until later in life. She chose to pursue degrees in finance and philosophy, then landed a job with Apple Computers first. Despite her impressive gig in Chicago, she eventually left it for New York's Institute of Culinary Education, landing a job in culinary production.
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Gail Ambrosius seems to have it all figured out. She turned a tough situation (getting laid off after ten years at the same job) into a glorious opportunity by doing what so many of us chocolate geeks long to do: head to Paris and study under the masters. With technique and experience under her belt, she launched Gail Ambrosius Chocolates in Madison, Wisconsin, in 2004 and has since been garnering praise for her wide range of offerings and unusual bonbon flavors—shiitake mushroom truffle, anyone?
From a humble start in a home kitchen, Porto's Cuban Bakery has become a beloved Los Angeles institution. I spoke with Betty Porto about her mother's hard work, what it was like to grow up in the bakery, and what makes Porto's truly special.