Emma Freedman, a junior at Elkhorn South High School, took up baking after a back injury from playing hockey when she was a freshman in high school. Nearly four years later, she has turned her hobby into a business and an art. Today, Emma works at Culinary Kidz, where she teaches the younger generation the art and science of baking and cake decorating.
Edge: How did you get into baking?
Emma: I got into baking about three years ago when I was 14. Baking was a way to manage anxiety and coping with no longer being able to play hockey and it became a release point to me. I realized that I was actually good at baking too.
Edge: What did you start out baking?
Emma: I would bake chocolate chip cookies after school and then eventually I started to bake cakes. Now, I like to bake chocolate cakes, but occasionally I will make a white cake. My favorite is a Devil Wears Chocolate cake that I created. We also have a family Kahlúa cake that is really easy but so good.
Edge: How did you learn to bake?
Emma: Some of it I learned from taking classes at Whisk and Measure, a local bakery, but most of my technique is self-taught from watching Food Network and Youtube.
Edge: Are your parents supportive of your baking journey?
Emma: My parents have been very supportive. My dad wants me to go to culinary school. I’ll actually be graduating a semester early next year so I can attend Metro’s Institute for the Culinary Arts.
Edge: Since you work at Culinary Kidz, what’s your life like there? What do you get to bake with the children who come in?
Emma: We normally have 15 kids per class. They’re around 5-8 years old, and they’re a lot of fun to work with. I’ll help teach classes or celebrate birthday parties there. The classes I teach are cake decorating classes. Each student gets to decorate their own three-inch cake as either a unicorn or mermaid. It’s really cute.
Edge: You seem to enjoy baking cakes the most. Do you still like to bake cookies?
Emma: I like to bake peanut butter cookies because they are my favorite. I like to eat cake so I don’t normally make cookies, but they’ve become a bit more fun to make because I learned how to frost them with royal icing so it has an in-depth design.
Edge: What is a misconception people have about baking?
Emma: People don’t realize that everything has to be precise with baking, so math skills are important. You have to have exact measurements and level everything off. And you can’t use a liquid measuring cup for solid ingredients. Salt is also really important even though you’re making something sweet.
Edge: Tell us about your plans for the future.
Emma: I’ll be going to culinary school and hopefully study abroad in France. I plan to open my own business one day, possibly in Colorado Springs. I played in hockey tournaments there and really liked the city.
Edge: Do you sell any of your baked goods?
Emma: I have friends who will send me orders through Instagram, and I’ve baked cookies for some local businesses. I use the name “BakeEm,” which will hopefully be my bakery name someday.