Behind the Counter: Gerald Winch, Chocolate Maker

Truffles:  How did you happen to come to Sweet Designs?  

Gerald:  I have to thank my dad.  It was three years ago and I’d just been fired from my other job.   I was 16 when Ines gave me a 2nd chance.  I was lucky to get an interview.  It happened because my dad is a customer and he’s known Ines for years. I’ve learned a lot since I started and am grateful that I was given that 2nd chance to show what I could do. 

Truffles:  Any big surprises? 

Gerald:  The number of friendly faces that have been around since I started.  It’s a whole family here where everyone is made to feel welcome and it’s changed the way I take responsibility. 

Truffles:  What’s an average day look like and what do you like most? 

Gerald:  I spend most of my time in the kitchen helping with orders. Working on the belt and prepping all the big custom bars in batches of two- to three-hundred and a variety of other tasks. It’s the best because it’s crunch time when the belt is on – moving and getting things finished without compromising our quality is what I aim for. I love that I can take pride in what I do. 

Truffles:  What have you learned at Sweet Designs? 

Gerald:  Be present and be responsible for what you do. Even if it’s good or bad. I’ve also learned a lot about business from Ines, including how to create an environment that has a family feel but that is always professional. I hope to have my own business one day and I’ve learned so much from Ines. 

Truffles: So, when did your interest in food surface? 

Gerald:  I had two years of culinary during high school.  And I’m now at Tri-C, so I’ve been in this industry now for 5 or 6 years. I discovered my interest in food in my freshman year after realizing IT – Information Technology – wasn’t for me. I have a creative mind and like the opportunities for creativity that working with food offers.  I’ve always enjoyed pork and like working with meat, but I see myself working with pastries or sweets in the future. 

Truffles:  When you're not working? 

Gerald: Recently, I’ve also been trying to learn how to skateboard. Travel is something else I really enjoy.  Because my dad’s job has been moving and delivering cars across the country, I’ve gotten to visit 37 states so far. 

Truffles: Something that would surprise people about you? 

Gerald:  Most people don’t know, but I had cancer when I was younger, a form of leukemia.  I’ve fought it for 12 years and fortunately, I’ve been in remission for eight years now. 

Truffles:  Your favorite Sweet Designs treat? 
Gerald:  Toffee and cashews come to mind immediately. 

Truffles:  Any message for customers? 
Gerald:  Thanks for making it possible for us to continue to work and for enjoying our products so much. 

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