It all started with a Wilton Cake decorating class at a local Michaels craft store about 10 years ago. That’s how Julie Weldele, who took over as pastry chef at the Hyatt Regency Saint Louis at the Arch last week, began pursuing her dream of working in pastry.

Weldele was fresh out of high school and getting ready for a career in interior design. When she found herself doodling pictures of the next cake she wanted to make, she realized a life in textiles and window treatments wasn’t going to cut it.

Instead, she began working at Ameristar Casino before beginning culinary school at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park two years later. The aspiring pastry chef began her work under Sidney Street Cafe’s first-ever pastry chef, Christy Augustin, plating desserts before moving on to work at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis under Simone Faure (currently co-owner of La Patisserie Chouquette).

Last year, she left the hotel to lead the pastry program at Scape American Bistro and Crepes, Etc. Before coming on board at The Hyatt, Weldele tried her hand at teaching for the first time with a three-week contemporary plated desserts class at her alma mater in Forest Park.

“My students were very talented and willing to listen to what I had to say, so that helped,” she says. “I think what it mostly taught me was how to manage. At Scape, I only had one other assistant, so it really taught me how to lead a team, which ultimately prepared me for my new role at The Hyatt.”

Last Fri., April 17, Weldele began her new role as the hotel's pastry chef, where she is now in charge of the pastry program and has five pastry cooks working with her. With almost four years of experience at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis already under her belt, she's happy to be in the hotel scene once again.

"I really enjoyed working for a company whose highest mission is their service commitment to their guests," she says. “I think it makes everyone care about their job more and really take pride in what they do. I think it is safe to say that most luxury hotels feel this way."

The Hyatt doesn't currently make wedding cakes, so when chef Michael Barber found out Weldele’s love for creating them, she says he was very excited.

Hyatt Regency Saint Louis at The Arch, 315 Chestnut St., Downtown St. Louis, Missouri, 314.655.1234, stlouisarch.hyatt.com


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