by Jessica Evangelista Balduzzi ’05
A life-long resident of Geneva, Ellie Molina has been working for the Colleges Dining Services on and off since the age of 15. “My dad told me I needed to learn how to earn my own money,” she says. “I started serving food, refreshing the condiments and waitressing for private functions and events under the direction of now-retired Dining Services Catering Manager Pat Heieck P’88, L.H.D. ’10.”
Molina found her passion for food service in the great hall of Saga, and was inspired to pursue a career in the industry. With encouragement from her parents, Molina took an internship with Walt Disney World and later enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America. From there she moved to California where she worked in some of the finest restaurants in Santa Rosa.
In 2006, the Colleges had an opening for a baker, and Molina jumped at the opportunity to come back to where it all began. Now head pastry chef, Molina begins most days at 6 a.m. with colleagues Becky Mills and Wayne Nicholson, baking 100 dozen chocolate chip cookies, 12 dozen muffins, 30 cheesecakes and dozens upon dozens of finger desserts.
“I love the creativity of my job,” she says. “But this volume can’t be achieved without a team.”