Rising Star Artisan Nicole Rucker of Gjelina Take Away - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

March 2014

 Growing up in a family that served box cakes and store bought pies, Nicole Rucker was 18 before she made her first scratch-cake. It was “the worst cake ever.” But that cake-incident was pivotal. Determined to understand why her cake had failed, Rucker began a self-guided exploration of the scientific side of baking. And her first teachers were on public television: Jacques Pepin, Jamie Oliver, and Julia Child. 

While attending art school, Rucker often baked pies, both as a way to interact with the boys and as the subject matter for feminist photo-series. Flirtations and photography aside, Rucker discovered a serious knack for baking, and chose a learn-on-the-job approach to further her education and hone skills. Rucker has worked in bakeries and cafes from San Francisco to San Diego.

Applying the same critical theories she worked with in art to baking, Rucker excelled in her newfound career. Landing in Los Angeles, she worked for Rising Star Chef Jason Travi and his wife, Pastry Chef Miho Travi. Now, as the pastry chef for the Gjelina group in Venice and a National Pie Championship Blue Ribbon winner, Rucker creates new dishes and pastries through a process that combines research, experimentation, and the same self-guided courage that brought her to that first scratch-cake years ago.