Meet the baker: Abigail Wentz from Middlebury Inn and Carol’s
MIDDLEBURY — If Marilyn Monroe were a hipster, she just might be Abigail Wentz ? the baker at Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe and Middlebury Inn. Instead of Monroe’s signature beauty mark, Wentz rocks a piercing. In place of golden curls, Wentz caps her head with a loose toque. The two share similar alabaster skin, but Wentz has colored hers with thoughtful ink, right down to her knuckles that read “HAND WORK.”
Though Wentz chooses layers of cotton and colorful tights over fur and floor length dresses, she has placed Monroe squarely on a pedestal.
“I love Marilyn Monroe,” said Wentz in a recent interview. “She is an amazing icon.”
Like Monroe, Wentz sings and is teaching herself how to play ukulele. But you won’t catch Wentz up on stage anytime soon. She only gives private shows to her 1-year-old tuxedo cat Jack.
Another big difference between Monroe and Wentz is baking. Although, oddly, Monroe’s mother’s name was Baker (Gladys Pearl Baker). Go figure.
“My mom has always been interested in food,” said Wentz. “She really inspired me. Both my parents pushed me to pursue my interest in cooking and baking.”
At at age 16, Wentz was baking primarily cupcakes. “They were my thing. But then they became so popular ? and I was over it. Moving on from cupcakes made me want to learn more. I discovered my love of cooking.”
Wentz moved to Vermont a few years ago, and recently graduated from the New England Culinary Institute with a pastry and baking degree. Why not become a chef?
“The meat room freaked me out at NECI,” she said. “I’m not a vegetarian, but the hanging meat made me want to get outta there and go back to the cakes and pastries.”
That seems reasonable. Plus, she likes to decorate, and draw, and paint and take photographs…
“Baking is an art,” Wentz explained. “You can make anything. I like adding details.”
Scones are the 26-year-old’s favorite things to make, and they’ll be your favorite too. Try one, they’re amazing.
Since coming to Vermont, Wentz has been working part-time as a barista and baking for Carol’s. She picked up the gig baking for Middlebury Inn just a few weeks ago.
As a kid, the New Jersey native would vacation on Lake George with her family. “We came to Middlebury when I was 12 and I told my mom someday I would live here,” Wentz remembered. “It was a fun phone call, telling her were I live now.”