Our Amazing & Creative Alumni: Camille Keedy Malmquist '96
By Nadine Fiedler
From the Summer 2011 Caller
When most people think of creative arts, they often overlook the culinary arts. It is a realm of unlimited imaginative (and edible!) possibilities. Camille Keedy Malmquist ’96 works in one of the most demanding of the culinary arts, pastry-making—and she does that in Paris, where the best pastries in the world are made, in one of the best pâtisseries in that city.
Camille first moved to France to teach English after college, but what she loved best was cooking and baking. Back in the States, she pursued training in culinary school in California, and worked in restaurants and bakeries in Dallas. She and her husband then moved to Paris, with no jobs in hand. Every bake shop wanted experience in France, but finally the family-owned Pâtisserie Couderc took a chance on Camille. There she’s honed her pastry-making skills, and now she’s learning the art of chocolate.
“The recipes in the traditional French pastry shop where I work are based on classic techniques, practiced over and over. I have developed some new flavors for the chocolates, but mostly my creative outlet is cooking at home and writing my blog,” says Camille. “Creativity is very important in the pastry arts, though. Once you understand how the ingredients work and how they work together, you can start creating your own desserts with the flavors and textures you’re after.”
Camille doesn’t plan to live in Paris forever, and she’s contemplating opening an ice-cream or chocolate shop when she returns to the U.S. But for now, Camille enjoys the daily work in her corner of Paris, making food that makes people happy: “It feels good to produce something tangible with my hands every day. I love starting the day with crates of eggs and cream and flour and sugar, and finishing it with enough cake to serve hundreds of people. People serve desserts to mark important events, and it’s nice to feel that in some way, I’m part of the celebration.”
“My Catlin Gabel teachers Josée Overlie and Marie Letendre instilled in me a lifelong love of France and the French language. I went on to major in French literature in college, and my French language skills were a big part of the reason my husband and I decided to move to Paris.”