Interview: Ginamarie Kinney Anderson of Harbor House Sweets
Whether you choose a traditional wedding cake, cupcakes or a dessert table, your options for something-sweet at your wedding are endless!
Ginamarie Kinney Anderson has been a pastry chef for 8 years and owns Harbor House Sweets in Washburn, Wisconsin. Ginamarie can supply handcrafted chocolate favors for your wedding, along with a wedding cake or any dessert! Read ahead for the latest pastry trends, Ginamarie’s recommendations for couples searching for a bakery/specialty shop and information about Harbor House Sweets!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Harbor House Sweets. What inspired you to become a pastry chef?
I was born and raised in upstate New York. I come from an Italian family. I’ve lived in 6 different states around the country but my husband, David, is from the area and that is what brought us here. I like to go to the Twin Cities monthly for my city fix! David and I have two children.
I have a small list of bakers in my family and I have baked since I was young. I wanted to get some science, skill and technique behind the trade so I went to culinary school in the Twin Cities. At Le Cordon Bleu (LCB) I doubled up on classes to finish early. While at LCB I would stage/work for free to learn more with a former chef of Charlie Trotter, Michelle Guyer. I then continued my education with an internship in Naples, Florida. I worked at Mikkelsen pastry shop. I was fortunate to work with a chef from Denmark, France, and a chocolatier from Belgium. I’m always looking to learn more and continue to improve my skill/trade.
I’m a hard worker and I thought it was time to work hard for me. Harbor House Sweets was put in plan. The name was inspired by some places from my roots and the fact that my husband and I love water. Some days I just want to make chocolate and some days I just want to bake. I love all of it and like to package pretty things.
Wedding Cake made by Ginamarie Kinney Anderson of Harbor House Sweets
What can you provide for weddings and/or bridal showers?
I like to provide for big events just as much as small ones. I can make individual desserts, specialty chocolates, or a cake. Harbor House Sweets can provide favors for any occasion, or a sweet treat for your liking. Always inquire, ideas traditional and new are welcome and I’m happy to make it.
What are some of the latest pastry trends you have seen for weddings?
I would say the most recent trends I have seen are dessert tables. Some people do not like big desserts but they do like to have a little something. A couple of years ago, I had a fabulous bride that wanted cake pops, cupcakes, petit fours and just a ceremonial cake. I loved setting it up, it was one of the prettiest I had done. She had said to me, “I think sitting there eating a piece of cake is so daunting. I want my guests to come pick up their sweet treat when they are ready.” That thought has stuck with me ever since. I liked that idea.
Another pastry trend is a small 2-3 piece chocolate box favor- one on each place setting. People really like that, it looks nice and they aren’t going home with something they will never use.
Chocolate Wedding Favors made by Ginamarie Kinney Anderson of Harbor House Sweets
When couples want to hire you for their wedding, what is your typical process?
I get a few ideas via email or phone to see what they like so that when we meet they can have a cake/dessert tasting. We meet at Harbor House Sweets, where I usually have a form we go through to see what they like and what they are looking for.
I require a deposit to secure the date. Each of us gets a copy of the contract so I know what is expected of me and they know what they are getting. Dates fill up fast and when there is a wedding, I don’t like to have other events on that day.
When do you recommend couples begin speaking to bakeries/specialty shops?
Brides should speak to bakeries right away! People always think they have time and the cake is last but there is so much more that goes into cakes/desserts. Couples are always surprised at the end of our meeting at how much info I need from them and how much is involved. They don’t realize it is just as important as the food. You are planning your guests’ dessert. Bakeries/specialty shops do not like to have more than one big event in a day. They want it to be a hit just as much as the customer does.
Are there any other recommendations you have for brides?
My advice is to be comfortable with what you want and what you like. Everyone has a budget and no matter what, it will be beautiful. Read your contracts and make sure everything is in order. The contract is for your protection as well as the bakery /specialty shop. You want to make sure you get everything you need. Don’t be shy to ask questions, this is your day. Enjoy!!