When Hartsville native M. Kelly Wilson graduated from the University of South Carolina with degrees in both history and English, baking was merely a hobby. But she quickly found that creative writing wasn’t going to pay the bills. Back to school she headed, this time to Johnson & Wales University in Charleston. “At first, my intention was to become a chef as well as to study pastry,” she says. “My advisor asked which interested me more. I thought about the brick-like bread and woefully cracked cheesecakes I’d been making at home and my growing collection of recipes—most involved baking. Decision made.”
Now head pastry chef at the prestigious Cypress restaurant, industry committee chair for the Food + Wine Festival’s Bubbles and Sweets event, and a second-year adjunct instructor of baking and pastry at The Culinary Institute of Charleston, Wilson has a tall toque of professional credits. Over the past three years, she’s also become a popular teacher of continuing education baking classes at both USC’s Culinary and Wine Institute certificate program and The Culinary Institute. There, she educates nonprofessionals in the art of making restaurant-worthy desserts that are doable in the home kitchen.