The Lancer Alumni Newsletter is a quarterly publication. Here is a sample article from our last publication.

Volume VI, Issue 1

Fall 2018

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Baking for the Biltmore Estate


Rachel Johnson Tipping (’14) works as a pastry chef at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. She graduated from IUP’s Academy of Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts program and has worked there since the completion of her externship in August 2016. According to Tipping,  when she saw the Biltmore was even an option, it automatically became her top choice. The Inn is a Forbes four-star hotel and rated to have one of the top 10 afternoon tea services in the world.

How did you get into baking? / Why do you enjoy baking?

I grew up baking with my grandmothers and have always had a love for it, so I decided why not make a career out of it? I love baking because, not only is it a science, but it’s a creative outlet. I’ve had the opportunity to some days be developing recipes for new menu items and other days I am building and decorating wedding cakes. Every day is a learning opportunity.

What are some of the challenges building wedding cakes?

Building and decorating cakes can definitely be challenging. I think the biggest challenge is having patience and getting used to not always having a temperature-controlled environment to work in. If I am making a wedding cake I normally prepare the cake, filling, and icing three days prior to the wedding. [Despite the process involved in creating a cake] on a daily basis, wedding cakes are definitely not my only focus. Currently, I also am creating the Candlelight tea menu alongside another co-worker and we have plenty of daily production to keep up with between our breakfast, tea service, lounge, and dining room. The Inn is a 24-hour operation. 

What is your favorite thing to bake?

My favorite thing to bake, surprisingly, is pie. Not a certain kind necessarily, but there is just something nostalgic about it. My favorite thing has always been preparing holiday pies with my grandmothers growing up and it will always be my favorite.

What is your favorite memory from your time at GMSD?

My favorite memories there were definitely being a part of the GM colorguard. Friday nights were always lots of fun, but really, the memories of all of the hard work as a team are ones I will never forget.

What makes you most proud of GMSD?

I am most proud of graduating from a school where there was somewhere to fit in for everyone. The diversity is what brings people together, but also allows everyone an opportunity to grow in their own way.

Photos Courtesy of Rachel Johnson

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