about

Paula Thomas
Photo courtesy, Dawn Evans Gioia

Who I am
Hi I’m Paula, a Colombian expat living in Denver.  I’m a trained pastry chef and have spent the past 15 years working in the restaurant industry from pastry assistant to executive pastry chef, in local places like Cook’s Fresh Market, Tante Louise, Kevin Taylor’s Restaurant Group, Inverness Hotel, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, to owning Teacup, Fine Baked Goods and Confections for 6 years. My career has taken me to the teaching field as an affiliate professor of culinary at the Hospitality, Tourism and Events department at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where I relish in sharing and learning from other chefs and from my students.

Why I Write
After more than a decade in the kitchen, I decided to return to school and finish a bachelors of arts in Journalism for Food and Wine, with a minor in writing. This pushed me to analyze my writing skills and challenged me to get better at it, and so Sweet Almond was born. I have learned that by writing I have to stop and think about the process of cooking and how to better teach others this art I love. Writing also helps me analyze issues I care deeply about, like food systems, sustainability, farming {in my case gardening}, the local agriculture and more; and to digest the constant influx of information from food books, food magazines, food podcast, food talks…I can go on and on and on!

What you will find in sweet almond
Stories, recipes, connections between food and culture, and how it all inspires me and absorbs the majority of my time. Cooking is a social act and we learn it by seeing others and are influenced by cultures, trends, and our surroundings. I love remembering how I happened upon a specific food or recipe, and how they have improved my understanding of ingredients, techniques and cultures.
You’ll also find some baked goods and many stories from the years of working in professional kitchens, especially those of a novice pastry cook. Many of those baked goods have evolved to fit my desire to bake with whole grains, to use freshly milled flours and to understand the difference in the process.

These all make part of my food journey.

How about you?
What would you like to see in sweet almond? what do you love to do? What are your favorite foods?

Pastry Portfolio

Here are a few pictures from my life in pastry, which I miss somedays more than others.

15 thoughts on “about”

  1. So great to see your blog Paula!! I like your writing style. Makes me want to start my blog again… 🙂 Congratulations!

      1. Paula! I am so happy that I stumbled across your blog. I just read all of your posts – you write so beautifully. I am anxious to try some of your recipes. You already know how I feel about your macarons, so I am only assuming how delicious everything else is that you make. I’m sure the next time we meet up that we’ll share stories about our blogging lives! 😉 Cheers to your journey! XO

        1. Hi Jayme! I’m blushing here thinking of you reading all of my posts. I must admit that i read yours often and I love your cocktails and jams, and I really want to try that citrus cake you made a couple of weeks ago, Yum! but most of all, i appreciate how sincere you sound and how engaging your posts are.
          I’ll be consulting your expertise this spring and summer on gardening as I’m finally diving in head on (frightening). we should have coffee sometime, i’ll bring macarons 🙂
          Thanks for stopping by and reading.

  2. Hi, Paula! Happy to find your blog. I did so when I Googled “canning in France.” I have no idea how I got here but am happy I did. I live in the Colorado mountains at the edge of the Flattops. We have a little farm where we raise pigs, chickens, vegetables, apples, apricots, plums and a FEW cherries. Oh….and dogs and cats.
    I have not read much of you blog yet, but I certainly plan to do so. I was looking for advice on reusing my Bonne Maman jam jars for canning. I read a blog from France called “These Days in French Life” and Riana does reuse those cute jars. Here the USDA says not to reuse the lids. I want to do that but, of course, don’t want to make myself and my hubby sick.
    Do you have any thoughts on that subject?

    1. Caterina,
      It seems that you have done your research and should follow the guidelines given by the USDA to be on the safe side. I’m not the most adequate person to answer that question, what i do know is that the lid part of the jar is what seals it – when you hear the pop! – so when you keep your food at room temperature it won’t spoil. I reuse them ONLY when i’m making something that we will consume within days, which i’ll keep refrigerated like with any other canned foods after is opened. I also reuse them when i make gift jars of DRIED HERBS from the garden because, well they don’t go bad once they are well dried. Keep on canning!

  3. Hi Paula! You made our wedding cake 5 years ago, and we’re still talking about it today! We are so happy to see where your career has taken you, wish you all the best!!

    Scott & Katherine

    1. Scott!
      Of course I remember you both, you were one of my favorite couples. Are you still on the East Coast? I remember you wanted to move to Colorado (can’t blame you!)
      Thank you for your lovely note, very *you* to be so kind.
      Take care,
      Paula

  4. Hola paula G. me a encantado tu blog y me fascinan todo esos platos que publicas se ve que sigues siendo esa niña tan dedicada como en la época de colegio te felicito y me encanta que seas tan exitosa en lo tuyo algún día me gustaría aprender. A cocinar y comer cosas tan sanas cuando vengas a Colombia avísanos o si tienes cursos virtuales estoy muy interesada
    Martha Escobar

    1. Hola Martha! Gracias por tus palabras. La verdad es que quiero escribir más recetas en español, fáciles, deliciosas y sanas. Te aviso cuando las pase al otro blog para que las ensayes y las compartas. Un abrazo 😊

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