"You sculpt a lot with your cakes," I offer.
"Yes!" she says. "Yes. In terms of cakes, I would call myself a sculptor."
She eventually decided on culinary school after graduation, but quickly learned that she wasn't into the fast pace required of restaurant kitchens. "Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed it," she says. "It taught me a lot. It taught me a lot of discipline. But I knew it wasn't for me." At the end of the program, when students were required to find an internship placement in a restaurant, she went to the dean and asked for permission to work in a bakery instead.
"They made tarts and cookies, all kinds of things," she says of the first bakery she worked at, reluctant to tell me the names of it and the school she went to, not finding them relevant to the work she does now. "When I started working there, I got to work at every single station and immediately loved cakes the most." One of her jobs was icing cakes, occasionally piping "Happy Birthday" on top of them. Eventually, she could ice up to 120 cakes a day. But she was drawn to decorating, a skill that wasn't exactly widely recognized in the late 1990s. One day, a customer brought in a picture of a cake decorated with fondant, the smooth sugar paste that novelty cake decorators use for its easily manipulation. The bakery was able to make a buttercream version of that cake for the customer, but the fondant had piqued Gampp's curiosity.