Catherine:  I grew up in San Marino, California and moved to Houston 12 years ago. I always tell my California friends that Houston is the best-kept secret!

Children and Age: One four-year-old son named Marcello.

One thing people would be surprised to know about you… I play tennis twice a week at 6 am, I have a standing tennis match.  I also play paddle with coworkers at the Houstonian when it permits. 

Favorite local things to do with your kids?  I like to take my son out to dinner at local restaurants, one of our favorites is Giacomo’s. We love all of the neighborhood parks including, Levy Park (especially their summer concerts). We also enjoy Wier Park and Fleming Park, where we practice tennis on the courts.

Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood? Sometimes, to get Marcello to eat different foods, we put a cherry on top to make it look like a sundae. We also buy fun cartoon band-aids, so if he gets cut he looks forward to wearing a special band-aid.

Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!  I am the Pastry Chef at the Houstonian Hotel. I have worked there 11 years, and as a pastry chef for 24 years.  I started my culinary career at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Gilon, Switzerland, then traveled back to the States to improve and develop my skills in California at various kitchens and at the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. I have taken annual courses in France and recently a course in Japan to better understand chocolate, cakes, tarts and other pastries. 

At the Houstonian we specialize in chocolate sculptures, I once made a 200-pound chocolate Easter egg. I build chocolate sculptures that are five to six feet tall, some sculptures could take a month and a half to create.

During the holiday season, my team at the Houstonian decorates and display gingerbread houses that stand over 6 feet tall and take more than 6 months to complete. Over 600 gumdrops, 95 pounds of gingerbread along with 200 pounds of royal icing and more are used to create them. This Gingerbread Village, with it’s hidden Elf on the Shelf, choo-choo train and dozens of trees with glittering ornaments bring guests from all over to celebrate at The Houstonian. 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?  This community provides so many wonderful activities, resources, and neighbors who we consider true friends. Marcello goes to St. Marks in Bellaire which he loves. Previously, he was in the Spanish Immersion Pre-k at Crossing Borders in Rice Village. He has done many after school programs in the neighborhood including swim lessons with Wolfies Swim School, soccer lessons with Soccer Shots and music classes at Christ the King.

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