Pastry chef is inspired by a family history of philanthropy
A native of Hendersonville, Lindsay Cromartie has been a helping hand in the kitchen for as far back as she can remember. “I have been baking with my mother since I was two,” recalls Cromartie. “There’s a picture of me at the counter at two-and-a-half covered in flour, holding a rolling pin. I don’t remember a time I didn’t enjoy baking.”
Cromartie’s philanthropist parents inspired her with their long history of local community service. Her mother served as the Board of Directors Vice Chair and Chair for the Community Foundation of Henderson County, a nonprofit that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for academic scholarships and causes including the Blue Ridge Humane Society, Safelight domestic shelter, Hendersonville Rescue Mission, Meals on Wheels, and many more.
“My business has been involved with their annual fundraiser, Vintage Carolina, since we opened,” says Cromartie.
For the annual gala, the Foundation gathers a group of local chefs and beer and wine purveyors, gives everyone a budget, and, while the food professionals donate their time and culinary efforts, the foundation sells the tickets. “It’s a great example of this community coming together for a bigger cause,” says Cromartie. She will be baking a cake and other delicacies with this year’s theme, “Masters of Philanthropy,” in mind. The idea plays off the upcoming Masters Golf Tournament, held in April in Augusta, Georgia. Expect goodies inspired by azaleas, dogwoods, magnolias, and other classic Southern flowers.
What drove you to open your shop?
Strong encouragement from friends and family who have supported me my entire life, and in my career, as well. My dad has been a huge encouragement in different ways. He went into the family business and did what he felt like he was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t fulfilling for him. Between my mother encouraging my passion for cooking and watching someone pursue a career that wasn’t their passion, I knew if I was going to have to work for 40 years, I would rather be doing something that I love. I’ll always take the passion over the money.
Hendersonville is an amazing community. I have a strong appreciation for the community, not just between people but also between businesses. There is this constant effort to keep things local, use local resources and to support each other. That’s huge. You don’t see that in big cities. To have that kind of community and that support between all these different factions, it’s invaluable. You can’t put a price on it.
Do you prefer to bake for events or to bake for yourself?
Definitely for events. Anytime we have company over at our house, I’ll ask them to bring the dessert. If I want to eat something sweet, I go get cheap chocolate. My favorite dessert to eat — and it’s a nostalgic thing, you can’t disregard the power of nostalgic — is a Duncan Hines box-mix angel-food cake with sour cream and powdered-sugar icing. My mother makes fun of me. We don’t use a single box mix in here.
Baking is an art. So, what inspires you to keep creating?
I can’t paint. I can’t draw. I was always an art student, but my mediums were not your traditional mediums. This is my medium. For inspiration, I love Pinterest and Instagram, cake shows … I love watching all these different techniques and ideas that people create. Every day is a new challenge, to see if I can do that and if I am capable to do more.
Gateaux Cakes and Pastries, 315 South Church St., Hendersonville. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 8am-4:30pm. gateauxhvl.com. Facebook: @Gateaux Cakes & Pastries. Vintage Carolina will take place at the Hendersonville Country Club (1860 Hebron Road) Monday, March 2, 6-9pm. Tickets are $125 per person. RSVP by Friday, Feb. 21. To reserve admission, visit cfhcforever.org or call 828-697-6224.