For Mary Katherine Odom-Endel, an alumna of The Culinary School of Fort Worth, her talents in the kitchen were clear from a young age.
“I have always been in the kitchen,” Mary Katherine said. “My mother, Sheri, is an excellent cook and always encouraged my siblings and I to get into the kitchen and help.”
Mary Katherine discovered early on that it was baking that drew her attention in the most. She said that she has always loved experimenting with the flavors of muffins and cakes, but she wasn’t always sure that the food industry was where she would build her career.
“I went to business college and even began working on an MBA,” Mary Katherine said. “Halfway through the program I realized I wasn’t happy, so I began baking cakes instead.”
When she started baking cakes, friends and family were the main beneficiaries. However, it didn’t take long for word to spread around her Arkansas town that if someone needed a cake, Mary Katherine was the person to call. Soon, she started her business Bake My Day MK and was excited when she began placing orders for people she didn’t know.
But, unfortunately for Mary Katherine, once she moved away from her hometown in Arkansas to Fort Worth in 2018, it became harder to sell her baked goods online.
“The market [in Fort Worth] is very saturated, so I soon realized that I needed to increase my skills,” Mary Katherine said. “I had always wanted to attend culinary school, but it was never an option in Arkansas.”
Upon moving to Fort Worth, Mary Katherine began researching schools in the area and decided on The Culinary School of Fort Worth. At CSFTW, she was able to increase her skills and prepare herself to begin making a name in a new market.
“Mary Katherine was always ready to learn new techniques and utilize them at home with her family and for her home bakery,” CSFTW Chef Instructor Rosemary Pagtakhan said. “She was very motivated to do her best which showed in her work at school.”
Along with the skills she learned at the school, Mary Katherine has been able to use the network of chefs she created at The Culinary School of Fort Worth to advance her career. She was hired recently by CSFTW alumnus Monte Berry at his cake shop That’s The Cake in Arlington. The shop is a small, family run bakery that specializes in custom cakes, one of Mary Katherine’s specialties.
“For now, I’m learning all that I can from everyone that I can to help make me the best that I can be,” Mary Katherine said. “I’ve come so far from the girl making birthday cakes from her little kitchen. My journey is far from over, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Written by James Creange.