When Paula Shoyer came to Louisville for the Jewish Federation’s Uniquely Jewish Baking event, there was a buzz of activity and excitement. In the afternoon, nearly 20 people crowded into Carole Spielberg’s kitchen to prepare Passover desserts for the evening’s event and enjoy a special cooking experience with Chef Shoyer
Above the whir of food processors, the clatter of dishes, the gush of water and lots of friendly chatter, Shoyer provided tips on proper baking technique and directions as everyone had a hand in the baking. At the end of the afternoon, there were plenty of Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Carrot Cake, Fruit Pie Bars and Florentine Bars – all made with Passover-friendly ingredients – for the evening event.
That evening, a larger group gathered at The Wine Studio, where Shoyer demonstrated the preparation of three of the recipes and shared personal stories.
“I started eating delicious desserts in my grandmother’s kitchen,” Shoyer said, “but I never figured it would be a career.” In fact, she followed a pre-med track in college, went to law school, then worked for a Jewish agency in Switzerland.
Just for fun, Shoyer attended cooking school in Paris. When she returned to Geneva, friends started asking her to make tortes for them. Before long, she was asked to teach a class.
When she returned to the United States with four children under age 4, including a set of twins, she was asked to teach cooking classes and then to edit Susie Fishbein’s cookbook.
Finally, she decided she’d rather write her own books instead of edit the work of others. Because she loved baking more than cooking, and never could understand why kosher desserts didn’t taste as good as non-kosher desserts, that is where she concentrated her efforts.
Today, she owns and operates Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in Chevy Chase, MD and has two published cookbooks – The Holiday Kosher Baker and The Kosher Baker – with another on its way.
Shoyer also recounted anecdotes about her appearance on Food Network’s Sweet Genius, where she had to create dishes using ingredients including an ostrich egg and jelly beans.
As a pastry chef who makes her recipes many, many times and has to taste them every time she makes them, she said she keeps slim by exercising a lot – mostly walking, eating lots of salad and wearing Spanx. Portion control is key, she added, and “don’t eat anything that’s not worth the calories.
Linda Spielberg and Linda Schuster co-chaired the Uniquely Jewish Passover Dessert Event. Carole Spielberg hosted the afternoon VIP baking session. Jewish Federation of Louisville Development Director Tzivia Levin Kalmes staffed the event.
VIP Afternoon Baking Event
UNIQUELY JEWISH BAKING EVENT