When you combine creative brilliance, trained talent, and the incredible work ethic it takes to breathe life into your dreams, you get Jess Philpot, sweet genius and partner at Extra Fine in San Antonio, Texas, and this week’s Dish’n Dames feature.
Before launching a career in baking and pastry, Jess was on the path toward becoming a teacher. It wasn’t until she decided to give her dream of owning a bakery a chance. She switched from education to culinary studies at St. Philip’s College — and the rest, as they say, is history.
Once she graduated in 2002, she was assigned a baking and pastry role at her first culinary gig, and she absolutely loved it. She also recognized that if she wanted to get ahead in the industry, her skills would need to level up. Jess decided to leave the comforts of home in San Antonio and take on Chicago’s French Pastry School. Shortly after graduating in 2006, she set her sights on Los Angeles.
Now fully trained in baking and pastry, Jess began honing her skills at LA’s finest restaurants, including Akasha and Providence, a two-Michelin-starred establishment. She was in the zone and loving every minute of her time in Los Angeles when family tragedy struck. In 2014, Jess’ mother passed away, and everything changed.
She returned home to spend time with family, and during that time, she accepted a position at the Culinary Institute of America bakery. It was there that a new trajectory was set, and Jess’ baking career began to truly take place.
With the support of fellow baker savants, Tim McDiarmid of Tim the Girl and Chefs Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell of Bakery Lorraine, Jess began to rise. They introduced her to Chad Carey of Empty Stomach Group, and soon after, Jess became an essential member of the restaurant group. She met her now-husband, Chef John Philpot, during this time and then became a partner at Extra Fine Bakery, an Empty Stomach Group project.
Jess continues to bring her sweet creative genius to Extra Fine Bakery. People come from miles around to enjoy her uniquely delectable cinnamon rolls, daily breads, and other pastry perfections. At home, she loves to spend time with her husband and their beautiful daughter, Ember.