Mother Earth Living

Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

Meet Kendall Melton, Austin Baker

11/7/2012 4:13:00 PM

Tags: Austin, Texas, baking, Kendall Melton, Pat Pape

As a child growing up in Dallas, Kendall Melton loved helping her mom in the kitchen. She started with small tasks at age 6 and gradually took on more responsibilities. But her favorite activity was baking, and when her mom brought home The Teddy Bear Baker, a book for young cooks, she was hooked.

Kendall Melton
Austin baker Kendall Melton studied theater but chose the kitchen stage for her career. Photo By Laura Crow

“I went through it page by page, baking every recipe in that book,” said Kendall, now a professional pastry chef at a hot, new restaurant in Austin, Texas. “My mom loved the peanut butter cookies and asked me to make those for her all the time.”

Kendall didn’t start out to be a baker. She loved theater and received a degree in theater arts from Loyola Marymount University. After a stint working in Hollywood, she returned to her baking roots, earning a certification in baking and pastry arts from Texas Culinary Academy in Austin. She believes both career fields have a lot in common.

“Every day you're pushing your limits, preparing for service, which is very similar to preparing for the production of a play,” she said. “Improvisation is essential in acting, and being able to adapt to changing situations and successfully deliver is your goal every day in a kitchen.”

Though Kendall has a healthy repertoire of recipes, creating something new is always a thrill. “It's especially thrilling when it works exactly the way you wanted it to, or you're able to fix it by improvising if it's not exactly what you envisioned,” she said.

Kendall has cooked for the famous, including “Anthony Bourdain, chef, author and star of the TV show “No Reservations,” who visited the Austin eatery one evening. “He had one of my homemade challah buns, the foundation for our burger,” she said. “I had a mild coronary when I heard that.”

She also enjoys decorating her cakes, cookies and cupcakes. “I've become far less stressed about it in recent months,” she said. “In all reality, it's sugar. And if it doesn't work, fix it. If that doesn't work, move on, and come back to it later. Stress and anxiety about baking is unnecessary.”

She also claims she has the best job in Austin. “Being a cook, working in a kitchen, your education never ends,” she said. “It's exhilarating to learn how to salt cure egg yolks or watch what nitrogen does to orange segments.”

Kendall has graciously shared a few of her baking secrets:

Baking Tips:
• If you can get leaf lard (pig fat available from some butchers) for pie crusts, you'll have a much more tender crust versus using butter.
• Use vodka instead of water in the crust, as well.
• Never bake cookies at 350, always 360 degrees. The edges are crisper, and the middles stay tender.

Don't forget to check out her post for her in-demand Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting recipe.

Pat PapePat Pape is a freelance writer and communications consultant. She lives just north of Dallas on five acres, dubbed Pigs Fly Ranch, along with her husband, cats, dogs and pygmy goats. She loves homemade baked goods. 



Related Content

Kendall Melton's Banana Muffins with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Try Austin baker Kendall Melton's in-demand banana muffins with cinnamon cream cheese frosting recip...

Casa Neverlandia: Fun With Green Building

A wonderful, whimsical Austin eco-remodel is the playful expression of two highly creative minds.

Cheeseburgers in Paradise

Editor-in-Chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence gets a great dose of green--and cheeseburgers--in Austin, Texa...

Carol Venolia Teaches Austinites to Live Lusciously

This week green building author, architect and Natural Home columnist Carol Venolia dispenses advice...

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 

Margot Verhulst
11/25/2012 4:31:08 AM
Kendall is very talented! I had some of her delicious pastries for Mother's Day Brunch this year. Absolutely delish!

Mary Karish
11/11/2012 12:44:27 AM
I had to try the banana muffin just to make sure it is as good as it sounded, it was heavenly. I guess my next project is to grow my own banana tree to ensure constant supply of home grown bananas. I also now have a good reason to go the liquor store, I need my vodka for the pies. Very interesting!

Martha Ausburn
11/8/2012 5:22:45 PM
Great article, darling girl, but what restaurant in Austin does she work at????

Brian Melton
11/8/2012 4:52:14 PM
Great recipe, great article!



Subscribe today and save 50%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.