Behind the Sweets: Sharin Nathan Crafts Pumpkin Cupcakes at Sweet Sensations

[Photographs: Lindsey Becker]

Sharin Nathan's path to owning her own bakery was not nearly as linear as her path to becoming a pastry chef. After a life-changing meal at Everest, Sharin decided almost on the spot that creating good food was her calling. She was a freshman in college at the time and had been thinking about majoring in Psychology, but soon after her first fine dining experience, she switched to English Literature (so that food writing jobs would be an option in the future) and talked to Chef Joho himself about culinary schools. He told her that he only accepted two stages a year from Kendall College. So from that point on her plan was to graduate college, attend Kendall College, and work at Everest.

With the first two steps completed, she applied to work in Chef Joho's kitchen. While all of her peers were applying to several places and had back-ups for their back-ups, Sharin interviewed only with Chef Joho and told him, "my dining experience here is what made me want to do this," and with that, she got the job and completed the final step in her plan. After working in pastry at Everest and various other high-end restaurants, she took several years off to raise her family. But once her children started school, she started to look for avenues back into pastry.


Initially she thought she would rent kitchen space and sell pastries at farmers' markets, but one day, while scouring ads for a Hobart mixer, she found one; but it was attached to an entire bakery being sold as a business. She bought that bakery just over two years ago and turned it into Sweet Sensations Pastry, which provides high quality scones, cookies, and cupcakes to the Ravenswood community.

She recently let me take a peek at the production behind her outstanding cinnamon custard-filled pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Click through the slideshow to learn more about this seasonal treat, which may only be around till Thanksgiving.

Sweet Sensations Pastry

1918 West Montrose Ave., Chicago, IL 60613 (map)