Up Close: Profile of the Executive Pastry Chef at The Hotel Hershey
To some, Executive Pastry Chef at The Hotel Hershey, Chef Cher Harris is a mentor, teacher, friend, supervisor and co-worker. To others, she’s a bona fide celebrity. She is an internationally renowned chef who in 2017 won the Global Chef Challenge Semi Finals for the Americas. In 2016 she was named “Pastry Chef of the Year” by the American Culinary Federation (ACF). In 2014 she was crowned “The Pastry Queen” at The Ladies' World Pastry Championship in Rimini, Italy. Also in 2014 Harris was recognized by Dessert Professional Magazine as one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America and was selected as a presenter and featured chef at the Powerful Women in Culinary Event in Beijing, China. As an active member of The American Culinary Federation, Harris has been honored through competition with three ACF Gold Medals and two Bronze.
The pastries she creates are awe-inspiring and mouthwatering, and the team of dedicated pastry professionals she oversees are continuously learning from her. Between creating her delectable creations and guiding her team we chatted with her about her accomplishments, perks of the job and more.
Are you interested in a career in the pastry field? Want to learn from The Pastry Queen herself? Chef Cher has openings on her team, and is looking for enthusiastic, creative individuals. Find out more information about current openings and how you can join here team here.
Q) Why did you choose to work for Hershey?
A) I grew up in Lancaster County, therefore I have fond memories of traveling to Hershey. As I worked my way into dessert and confection jobs within our areas, The Hotel Hershey was quickly made a pinnacle within my mind of superior product and reputation.
Q) What's your biggest accomplishment since joining the Hershey team?
A) It would have to be my desire to start doing pastry competitions and the overall support I have and from my team and Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. In 2014, I traveled to Italy to compete in the Ladies’ World Pastry Championship (The Pastry Queen) and represented the USA against 10 other countries. I won the competition and was named the 2014 world Pastry Queen!
"Knowing that you made someone smile...also watching the young pastry culinarians come through our operation and progress into their careers."
Q) What's your favorite pastry to make?
A) I honestly don't have a favorite. I get asked that a lot, but I think it’s why I enjoy The Hotel so much! I get the opportunity to create wedding cakes, banquet desserts, plated restaurant desserts, different themed buffets and coffee house style items, all under one roof.
Q) What's the most rewarding aspect of your job?
A) Knowing that you made someone smile. When you see a guest taking pictures of your creations, or passing by someone that says "you made our wedding cake 2 years ago." Also watching the young pastry culinarians come through our operation and progress into their careers.
Q) What advice would you give someone interested in a career in culinary?
A) Know what you are getting yourself in to. It is not like TV. It takes true passion for the industry and hard work.
Q) What's the best perk of your job?
A) Having Hershey's chocolate candies near me at all times!
Q) What does a typical day consist of?
A) As a team, we cover all areas of The Hotel. The Sweets Shop, the Cocoa Beanery, the Spa Oasis buffet and the desserts needed daily for Trevi 5 all happen by 11 a.m. each day. We then work through banquet buffets and general production needs. Specific pastry cooks are designated just to create the desserts for Harvest and The Circular a la carte service. Plus, there is always room service!
Q) Tell us something folks might not know about you.
A) I love the outdoors! Gardening, camping, kayaking...or just sitting under the stars with a glass of wine!