Fort Wayne pastry chef Grace Kelly May dishes on rhubarb, salt and St. Elmo

by | People, Q&A

By Brian Garrido

Executive pastry chef and owner Grace Kelly May opened GK Baked Goods in 2015 with the Affine Hospitality Group team comprising Andrew Smith, Daniel Campbell and Jack May. The Fort Wayne native and classically trained chef worked and managed pastry kitchens across the United States before returning to Indiana, where she became a co-owner of Junk Ditch Brewing Company, Junk Ditch Huntington Tap, Junk Ditch Food Truck, GK Baked Goods, GK Pastry Truck and the newly opened GK Cafe and Provisions. Grace is also a mom to her three children, Marco, Wylie and Alice.

What made you become a chef?

Growing up, you could always find me in the kitchen, creating unique things, cooking for my family or baking with my mom. The kitchen is really where I found my “home.”

What are some of your favorite ingredients you look forward to using this time of year?

Hands down, rhubarb. I was never a fan of rhubarb when I was growing up, but now that I know how to bake with it properly, it is my favorite springtime ingredient. I love the tartness, the complexity and just the overwhelming springtime-in-Indiana flavor it provides.

Any advice for home cooks who want to up their game?

Don’t be afraid of salt in baked goods! Salt enhances and amplifies the flavor of your ingredients and makes them shine!

How would you describe your cooking style or philosophy?

I have been told my baking style is “New American Pastry.” I love to elevate the classics and have very balanced desserts and pastries.

What do you cook at home?

I am very spoiled. My husband is from this industry, so he does most of the cooking for my kids and me. When I cook, I tend to do the comfort food I grew up with, like chicken and noodles, biscuits and gravy, chili, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread or pancakes and waffles with fresh fruit.

What items are always in your fridge at home?

Butter! You can never have enough butter in my world.

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you eat?

We love visiting Indianapolis. We love having date nights at St. Elmo’s, sitting at the bar having a French 75, shrimp cocktail and steaks. It is such a classic bar and menu, and you feel transported in time.

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