Rising Star Artisan Nicole Rucker of Gjelina Take Away - Biography

Los Angeles, CA

August 2014

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

Rucker continued baking at art school, eventually discovering a serious knack for it, using the same analytical creativity that brought her to the art world. Rucker honed her skills in bakeries and caf├ęs along the West Coast, eventually landing in Los Angeles and working for StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Jason Travi and his wife, Pastry Chef Miho Travi.

Now pastry chef for the Gjelina group in Venice and a National Pie Championship Blue Ribbon winner, Rucker creates new dishes and pastries by combining research, experimentation, and the same self-guided courage that brought her to that first scratch-cake years ago. Her work has earned her a 2014 StarChefs Rising Star Artisan Award.