Baker Spotlight: Drew Rogers, Owner of Drew's Pastry Place & Star on TLC's Bakery Boss
If you have ever searched for authentic Italian pastries and desserts in Houston, you've probably been sorely disappointed. Although the Bayou City is home to many bakeries that make cupcakes, cakes, cookies and other American sweet shops, it is seriously in need of establishments dedicated to creating cannoli, tiramisu, pignoli, rainbow cookies and other Italian specialties.
Photo by Molly Dunn Drew Rogers became a pastry chef at the age of 40 and established Drew's Pastry Place.
After making a midlife career change to become a pastry chef, Drew Rogers set his sights on opening his own shop, with a goal of making the classic Italian pastries he grew up eating in New Jersey. But, the process of establishing Drew's Pastry Place has not been the one Rogers imagined.
"I went to work for Houston Country Club after [culinary school]," Rogers says. "The week I graduated I got a job offer at Houston Country Club -- which was great -- under a Master Chef, and his name was Chef Fritze Gitschner. And at the time were only 58 or 59 Master Chefs in the world and he was ranked in the top ten. So, for me to work under him my first gig out of school was incredible and I learned a whole lot from him. I was there for three-and-a-half years."
Rogers' parents knew that he wanted to open his own bakery, so they offered to assist him in creating, designing and opening Drew's Pastry Place in Vintage Park, a true family business. Rogers decided to audition for Next Great Baker on TLC, but was not selected as a finalist -- he was a runner-up. However, this misfortune might have been a blessing in disguise.
"When Buddy [Valastro] decided to start this new series, Bakery Boss, they were looking for bakeries that were not performing like they should," Rogers says. "So, they sent me an email asking if I was interested and I said, 'Yeah I'd be interested in going forward.' So they sent me a questionnaire and one of the questions was, 'How do you think Buddy can help you?' I just sent back to them, 'Well, if I knew that, I wouldn't need him here.' And I got a call the next day."
Photo by Molly Dunn Drew Rogers loves making cannoli; his recipe for the cream is a secret.
After several Skype interviews, phone calls and visits to the bakery, TLC decided to cast Drew's Pastry Place as one of the 13 bakeries to appear in the first season.
"The filming was like eight days and nine to nine. We were closed for those whole eight days and now they are editing it all down to 42 minutes," Rogers says. "I don't know what it's going to look like, except for the 30 seconds that they've shown so far on their website."
(The episode will air on TLC tonight at 9 p.m.)
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