Name: Maria Arenas
Profession: Pastry Chef
What do you do for a living?
I’m the pastry chef at Hotel Valley Ho. I am in charge of anything and everything that has to do with baking and desserts, including at the restaurant (ZuZu), for catering functions, and in-room dining. We are constantly changing things to keep up with the seasons. Fun fact, our “Show Stopper” Shake changes every month! These are always over the top, with a wide variety of fun themes and flavors.
What type of training do you need to do your job?
I went to two culinary schools to study to become a pastry chef in Argentina, where I am originally from. Culinary school teaches you techniques and basic recipes, but I think that you don’t necessarily need to go to culinary school to become a pastry chef. The key is to learn as much as you can in your job, read books, and practice.
What’s your favorite part of your job?
I love that the pastry world doesn’t have an end; you can learn something new every day and be creative.
What did you want to be growing up?
I always liked the arts. Growing up, I wanted to be a painter and have my own gallery.
What advice would you give to a kid who wants to have a similar career?
I think if you want to be in the culinary world, you must be patient, work hard, and learn from other chefs and peers. Like I said before, there is always something new to learn and ways to hone your craft.
One Fun fact NOT about your job?
I love gardening. I have a collection of succulents and cacti on my balcony. I always tell my husband that when and if I retire, I want to have my own nursery.