Courtney Hubbard: A Small Town Pastry Chef

Maria Cifuentes, Reporter

The sweet smell of fresh-baked cookies, the warmth that fills the entire kitchen as a new batch of desserts are made, and the smile on people’s faces as they bite into them is what inspires pastry chef and owner of Courtney’s Sweet Tooth, Courtney Hubbard to continue following her passion for baking. 

Courtney Hubbard is a 25-year-old pastry chef who grew up in Hampton Bays, where her family has lived for years and are considered locals. After completing her school years at Hampton Bays High School she attended Suffolk County Community College and received an Associates Degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. 

Her passion for baking derives from her family. She learned to cook from her father and grandmother. One of her first baked goods she ever learned to make was her grandmother’s brownies and she continues to use this recipe to this day. 

“I’ve always known I wanted to do something involving food for my career, but when I found out I could make money baking it changed my way of thinking about my future. My Nana was the one who told me I could potentially work, or even own my own bakery one day,” said Hubbard. 

The moment she realized that baking was what she wanted to pursue for the rest of her life was at a birthday party. She was ten years old and the party took place in a bakery, where she was able to make her own mini cake. 

“I was so drawn to the idea and taken back by the atmosphere inside of that industrial-sized kitchen. I couldn’t stop listening to the chef, watching and wanting to learn everything I could. I knew that was exactly what I wanted to pursue,” said Hubbard. She believes that this is what she was meant to do with her life and she enjoys it to the fullest. 

Early on in her career, Courtney was able to have an experience that most pastry chefs only dream of ever achieving. She participated in the television program for the Food Network, Bakers vs Fakers. She was on the first episode of season one, titled “Cupcake Caliente”,  and she came out as the winner. Courtney was able to get on this show from an advertisement on social media. A friend of hers from high school had seen the ad and thought of her. She decided to take the chance and she never thought she would be contacted to be on the show, but a couple of days later she received a phone call and it became one of the best experiences of her life.

“It was so fun and it was an amazing confidence booster. It was nothing like I have ever experienced before, and very different from my baking style I do at home. It was fast-paced, focused on plated desserts, and you had to think on your feet. It is a skill I learned to now always carry, that creativity and “go with your gut” feeling in my everyday baking,” said Hubbard. 

Courtney runs her business from her very own kitchen in her great grandparents’ house. Before the pandemic hit, she would bake a variety of desserts for large parties, weddings, and celebrations. 

Her biggest order, which wasn’t necessarily big in size but more so big in the amount of pressure she experienced, was when she was asked to create a hand-painted and non-traditional wedding cake. The cake needed to consist of a vanilla and raspberry cake, as well as a cannoli cake. 

“The challenge though was that I was asked for it to be taken to Upstate New York for the wedding. I now had to ensure the cake was the proper temperature for its travels, I had to communicate with the guests delivering the cake and give them every bit of knowledge I knew about my deliveries! I was so worried something would happen. Sure enough, though, it got there as if I placed it there myself. Untouched, unharmed, and as amazing as I had dreamed,” said Hubbard. 

When asked what her favorite pastry to make is, she responded that this is always a hard question for her. She loves whatever pastry she is working on that day or that week, but if she did have to choose a favorite, she would have to say cookies. She believes they are classic and timeless, they’re a perfect treat for any time of the year. Courtney does have a pastry that she is very proud of, she has only created it twice in her whole baking career. It is a small batch of individual desserts that consist of a light and fluffy almond cake, fresh homegrown figs, a lightly sweetened mascarpone mousse, and topped with a crispy almond tuile and roasted fig. It has every texture you can think of all wrapped in a single bite. This pastry was her final project that was sold in Pastry School, she received a perfect score with it and it was sold out from the school’s bakery. 

Hubbard said, “I love being able to take flavors and use different local ingredients and turn them into something unforgettable.” 

Since the pandemic started in March, many things have changed for Courtney and her baking business. The large parties and weddings she used to create pastries for were all canceled or postponed. She usually got most of her orders from these parties, but she didn’t let the pandemic stop her from continuing to bake. She now offers smaller sized treats and individual orders. Although she was heartbroken when many of her customers called to cancel their big orders, she decided to just hope that things will one day improve, and find new ways to continue creating delicious desserts so that people can still celebrate with smaller quantities of dessert.  She is also giving baking lessons, mostly to her close friends and family. 

“I hope to inspire those who have an interest in baking and being in the kitchen because it has been such a treat for me to be able to continue to call the kitchen my ‘happy place’,” said Hubbard. 

Courtney is happy with her career and loves that she is pursuing something that she is truly passionate about. The goal she wishes to accomplish for her business is to be able to share it with as many people as she can. She hopes to always make people smile every time they try one of her desserts and she wants to continue inspiring others to follow their dreams. Courtney is a great example of how we must choose to follow what we are passionate about, just like her, we can achieve great things. You can contact Courtney through Instagram and Facebook, @courtneys_sweet_tooth.