Emmalee Huitron has earned an associate’s degree in culinary arts, a bachelor’s degree in baking science and an extreme-hustle degree from the school of life.
When the Westland resident decided to start her own business (Bittersweet Bakehouse) in the months following the COVID-19 pandemic’s harshest blitz, she went after it with a full-throttle gusto, determined to parlay her high-level skills into an independent career.
Huitron’s venture has been a success and the proof isn’t in the pudding, but in her widely-acclaimed baked goods that she creates, markets and sells seven days a week.
“Pre-COVID, I was working as a pastry chef at the Detroit Golf Club,” said Huitron, who is a native of Fowlerville, Michigan and a graduate of Rhode Island’s Johnson & Wales University, a world-renowned culinary arts institution. “Post-COVID, I could have either worked seven days a week for someone else or work for myself seven days a week.”
She decided to work for herself.
Using Westland’s Marquis Foodservice facility as a commissary kitchen, Huitron bakes everything from perfect-to-the-slightest-detail wedding cakes to raspberry rose top parts, which consist of puff pastries filled with raspberry jam.
“It’s going really well, actually,” Huitron said during a brief break on a recent Saturday afternoon at Marquis. “This is my first season running as an LLC, so I started by taking baby steps, growing gradually. Hopefully my next step is finding my own brick-and-mortar place.
“Honestly, I just want to be a part of the surrounding communities, get to know more people and get them good pastries. There really aren’t a lot of independently-owned bakeries in this area. I don’t want to get as big as Zingerman’s, but I want this business to grow.”
Days off are rare for the ever-hustling pastry professional. During the farmers market offseason she takes orders for celebratory cakes and other mouth-watering items that bring smiles to her customers’ faces.
“I recently baked and served mini-muffins at Buff City Soap’s grand opening in Canton,” she said. “I’m working on building wholesale accounts … trying to supply coffee shops and stores with my pastries and baked goods.
“There are a lot of places that would like a full-time pastry chef but can’t necessarily afford one, so I want to fill that void and supply them with stuff I bake.”