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Award-Winning Baker Joins Summerhouse Team

Award-Winning Baker Joins Summerhouse Team

When we asked Valarie Enters—the new Chef Assistant Bakery / Pastry at Summerhouse—to tell The Leaf who is her favorite Disney character and why, she answered with a smile. "Alice in Wonderland, because she was inquisitive and tried different foods."


Valarie's choice perfectly sums up the enthusiasm, curiosity and spunk she brings to both her craft and Summerhouse—qualities she's honed since taking her first cake-decorating class over two decades ago.


"I love making cakes, pastries and breads for our residents and guests," she is quick to say. And it shows. As you walk into the clubhouse in the morning, you'll often be greeted by her freshly made, flaky pastries. The feather-light Parker House dinner rolls (lightly sprinkled with poppy seeds) at Markham's are her handiwork, as are such delectables as streusel dusted with fresh basil-infused sugar or a resident's special-request birthday cake made from their beloved family recipe.


Each of her creations offers a delicious, subtly distinctive approach to classics and favorites. They're a treat in their own right, while complementing the menu and settings they're designed to accompany. Closely collaborating with the food and beverage team, Valarie says that her creations, "are part of the fun and challenge of providing Guests with memorable Summerhouse experiences."


"Ordinary" is definitely not a word in this baker's working vocabulary. Valarie's made-from-scratch pies and cakes are award-winning. Her cherry pie won Best of Show in the 2006 National Pie Competition and she was a finalist in the "Food Network Challenge: Gingerbread Champions," to mention but a few of her honors.


During a recent Memorial Day weekend, Golden Oak residents delighted in Valarie's artisanal versions of classic all-American apple and lemon-cream pies, made from scratch. Guests at a private party enjoyed an array of delicious mini-desserts, including Key lime pie and tiramisu.


Fresh ingredients grown in the Golden Oak garden often figure into Valarie's recipes as well. For example, in making her focaccia (soft, rustic flatbread), she layers the flavors beginning with olive oil that she's infused with rosemary harvested from the garden. "This oil goes into the dough, and is brushed onto the focaccia once it's out of the oven," Valarie says. "Right away, I grind a bit of the rosemary into sea salt, which I sprinkle onto the piping hot bread."


It all sounds scrumptious and deliciously demonstrates Valarie's passion for her craft. She joins the team at Golden Oak after baking for Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as other notable companies, and has taught baking to middle-schoolers.


Welcome, Valarie! May your inner Alice in Wonderland continue to inspire you.

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