Marly Gates ('20)

Gates decorates cupcakes with lavender icing and fondant flowers.

East alumna Marly Gates (’20) expresses through culinary arts

Flour. Frosting. Stirring and mixing. Art comes in many different forms, including the guilty pleasure of baked goods. Not only do baked goods serve an important purpose in the opinions of one’s taste buds, but they are also pieces of beautiful art in their own way.

Marly Gates (‘20) has a strong passion for baking and the art of pastry making and recently graduated from East in 2020. She is now a pastry chef-in-training and attends Walnut Hill College, majoring in Pastry Sciences.

Gates’ cupcakes resemble green apples. (Marly Gates (’20))

“I definitely think baking is an art,” says Gates. Gates also says that most people don’t realize how crucial it is to put the presentation of a pastry into consideration. Pastries need to look pleasing so that they can catch people’s eyes and sell well. She explains that there is a large amount of overlap between pastry sciences and art and that baking is definitely an art form.

With both taste and artistic acquisition that is needed to be displayed on baked goods, it takes a large amount of precision and attention to detail on a technical level for pastries to turn out the way the chef envisioned. It takes a lot of effort to ensure that pastries are even and neat when they are finished and ready to be sold.

“I come from a very artistic and creative family, so turning ideas into something on a dish comes easy,” says Gates. Oftentimes, Gates takes inspiration from her interests and other aspects of her life and incorporates them into her desserts. She says that she loves to bring details from her home life into her pastries as well.

For Gates, baking was not just a passion for her to pursue, but also a way to clear her mind of worry. “I started baking at the start of high school, and I mostly did it to relieve stress,” says Gates. Gates also says that she would bring her baked goods to marching band practices or before big games to share with the crowd. Most proud of her meringue cookies, Gates is sure that her classmates remember the sweetness of the cookies melting in their mouths. Gates says, “I would almost bet money they remember my meringue cookies!”

“The more I started researching different recipes and made items with my nana, the more I realized how much I loved it,” says Gates. With a newfound love of baking, Gates began to bake more and more until she realized that she wasn’t as passionate about any other hobbies or majors as she was in baking. Gates then decided that this was what she wanted to do and pursue as a career.

Now, Gates is planning on building her own brand where she can bake and sell items to people. This summer, she will have a limited Pop Up from mid-July to mid-August. Gates also enjoys studying Pastry Sciences at Walnut Hill College as she is involved with community outreach programs and learns from pastry chefs she looks up to. Gates is currently focused on working on decorating small cakes or smash cakes, as well as cupcakes. She is also looking forward to working on more pastries when she has the available space.

As a chef, whether culinary or pastry, learning takes place every day in the kitchen. Information is passed down from generations of knowledgeable chefs who have been involved with baking and pastry-making in their entire lives, and still, new techniques can be acquired.

This is why I love doing what I do. It never gets boring.

— Marly Gates ('20)

“This is why I love doing what I do. It never gets boring,” says Gates.

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