Throughout her adult life, whatever Diane Stimson’s career was, it was geared toward making things look good.
First as a graphic designer, and now has a pastry chef with her own business, The Pastry Palate Café, which offers an assortment of French pastries, sandwiches, soups, coffee, salads, quiches, and other baked goods like cookies and cupcakes in the Town of Kent. Customers can also order vegan or gluten free and while the café is geared toward French pastries, Stimson can bake Italian baked goods by special order.
She was actually a graphic artist designing for the housing market for more than 20 years, but when that market crashed in 2008, she was living in Chicago and trying to figure out her next move.
“I just thought I’d take my graphics and make them dimensional. Turn them into cake,” she said. “Instead of drawing, I’m making cake.”
As someone who always baked and cooked for her family growing up, Stimson has always been familiar near an oven.
Stimson opened the café in November 2017 a few years after her career change. Her training includes the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City and even traveling to France where she learned how to perfect flaky pastries. She worked at different restaurants in the city before opening her own place.
A Carmel High School graduate, Stimson decided to move back to Kent where she grew up and provide the community with a shop that’s a little different. From her days in culinary school, she always wanted to open her own shop at some point.
Each week, she tries to come up with something new to present. While the shop has its staples offered daily (the crack cookie, turtle bars and crumb cakes sell the most), Stimson tries to mix it up and introduce new pastries.
“I thought this community needed something a little more European and some place where people could come, chill out and just relax,” Stimson said.
Stimson has gotten to know many new people in the community or acclimated herself with people she knew from growing up. It’s become a hangout space, she said. The layout includes some large comfortable chairs and high-top table counters. Additionally, free wi-fi is offered.
“I want it to be a homey feel to it where people can just chill,” she said.
The Pastry Palate Café is located at 531 Route 52 in Kent and its phone number is 845-306-7247.