Tara Glick

Tara Glick

Questrom 2007 | Corporate Pastry Chef - American Cut

Tara Glick studied law during her time in Questrom and worked in advertising upon graduation. Yet she soon realized that the time she was happiest was when she was baking in her kitchen. She recognized this culinary art as her true passion and made the decision to attend culinary school part time. Today, Tara is Executive Pastry Chef at American Cut in New York City.

Once Tara Glick took her Introduction to Law class, she was hooked on the way it made her think and quickly became a law concentrator. Yet Tara, who graduated seven years ago, has taken a much more uncommon path than her peers.

Tara thought she was going to go to law school because that was the best option she thought she had. Yet Professor Randall encouraged her to take time to herself to figure out what she wanted. Following his advice, Tara took a job in advertising because, as she said, “she got one.” She was doing well at it, liked her job, and liked the people that she worked with.

“What you don’t realize is that having a career is such a journey,” she says. “You don’t just pick one thing.”

Yet something else consumed Tara’s time. She was baking all the time, reading about baking, buying cookbooks, and making treats for friends. By the time she turned twenty-five years old, she realized that she had a decision to make that was now-or-never: either she was going to make pastry her career or she would never pursue it. With that, Tara decided to enroll in culinary school part time.

Once she graduated, Tara quit her job, found a job in pastry, and has been riding the “insane roller coaster of baking” ever since, which has gotten her pretty quickly through the typical rise of a pastry chef. Usually it takes a person ten years to rise from cook to chef, yet Tara was able to do it in two and a half. Tara attributes this accomplishment to the traits the acquired from Questrom. People sometimes say to her, “what a waste of a degree.” Yet Tara disagrees. She believes that the things Questrom taught her – the core principles of working hard, being competitive, and negotiating for what you’re worth – are the things that she still does every day. She has succeeded in the field because of those traits.

Admittedly, Tara’s decision to pursue her decision was not an easy one. She agonized over the matter. In business, there is a clear career path. Yet for pastry, she had no idea about the industry and was completely blind going into it (Tara admits that if she had to do it all over again she should try to be a little bit more educated on the process). Additionally, Tara did not know that when she graduated culinary school she would be making ten dollars per hour. Still, however, she still would have pursued her passions.

Tara says that the challenges she faced in pursing her dreams were absolutely worth it. “When you’re younger, there’s still an incredible amount of pressure from the people around you. It took until I was promoted to being executive pastry chef until my parents could see everything that I was making that they supported me.” Though it was an incredibly long process, and she was blindly on a path for three years, Tara now sees where she was going the whole time. Today, she is the executive pastry chef for two restaurants, has complete authority over her menus, and has even worked with iron chef Marc Forgione and was featured on an episode of Iron Chef for the Food Network. She started working with Chef Forgione in Atlantic City at American Cut when she moved back to New Jersey and struggled to start her own business. The two ended up meeting and she took an assistant chef job at American Cut. By a stroke of luck, the restaurant’s pastry chef ended up getting pregnant and left within six months. With that bit of luck and a lot of hard work, Tara was able to take her place.

When asked what courses have proved useful in her career, Tara spoke about a negotiations class in the Organizational Behavior department that has proved incredibly useful. She says that the skills she learned have helped her throughout the course of her career; she is consistently being paid more than her co-workers and is comfortable negotiating for herself. In addition, the law classes that she took helped her to think critically and think outside the box (she also adds that lessons in landlord-tenant law have helped her in her personal life). Tara also adds that, though she hated core, it was really incredibly helpful. She realizes that working with a group of people and being forced into a situation like this with a random group of people really prepares you for the work force.

Tara added that the general competitive atmosphere in Questrom has helped her to succeed. “While you’re there, it doesn’t seem good because it makes it harder to have friendships, but competition isn’t a bad thing.” Tara proudly added that, in the roles she’s held since graduation, she is a strong competitive force that is not easy to beat.

Aside from wishing she had studied more and had better attendance during college, Tara wishes that she knew that it’s okay not to have it all figured out. She was the first person in her family to go to college and everyone’s hopes seemed pinned on her to be successful. Yet she realizes now that there are different things for everyone and there is not one set path. The path that she took – and is currently taking – is not going to apply to most people. “People in the 18-21 age range are always going to believe that they have to know exactly what’s going on and that, magically upon graduation, they’re going to be locked into the rest of their lives.” However, Tara adamantly points out that there is so much flexibility and opportunity to figure out your passions beyond graduation. She is a prime example of someone who took a road less traveled, and it led her to a career where she is involved in her passion each and every day.

Jan 9, 2015