Background
Chef Du JourHaving a mom who loved to decorate cakes propelled Kathy Wise on a cake-baking path. She remembers decorating her first cake at age 6. In 1992 she graduated from Centre College in Danville, KY., as an Economics major. She knew early on the she wanted to blend her financial education with baking, so she went to culinary school at Opryland, graduating in 1995. She "chefed" her way around town until she opened her own wedding cake business. When she discovered difficulties in finding supplies and materials, she opened Sweet Wise, a store for cake, candy, and pastry supplies for home and professional cooks.

At home
Entertaining friends is her favorite hobby. Whether the groups are large or small, she likes to make dishes that are easy to handle from a buffet, and, of course, the dessert buffet is one of her specialties.

Favorite cookbooks: Dessert University, by Roland Mesnier, former White House Chef. She also likes his previous book, All the Presidents' Pastries: Twenty Five Years in the White House, a Memoir.

86 this trend
Cakes, candies, and pastries decorated the same old way. She's a total believer in keeping up with new trends, methods, and processes. "It's worth it to network and take trips to bigger cake-decorating groups, such as the International Cake Exploration Societe," she says. The website is www.ices.org.

Roll-out cookies
She offers her grandmother's recipe for roll-out cookies, which may be prepared in three ways.

— THAYER WINE, FOR THE TENNESSEAN