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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

Teen Entrepreneur: One Young Baker Could Be the Next Food Network Star

Gina Ansaldo putting on the finishing touches to her delicious cupcakes.
Gina Ansaldo putting on the finishing touches to her delicious cupcakes.

Ever since she was a little girl, Gina Ansaldo has helped her mother and grandma in the kitchen. Now, as a senior at Colonia High School, Gina balances the typical teenage homework and drama with working at a bakery. She also has a whole business to run, Spooner’s Cupcakes, which she founded with her mom. Spooner’s is quickly catching the attention of the local community.

Young Beginnings

“My childhood was amazing. My parents would do anything to make my sister and me happy,” Gina remarked on her younger days. As a child, she would always go to her grandparents’ house in upstate New York in the summer. There, she would spend time fishing, swimming, and also baking. Gina’s grandma and her mom have both been influential in her baking career. In fact, her business is named after her grandparents’ last name – Spooner. However, her mom is the chief influence in her life.

“I bake because of my mom and she bakes because of her mom,” Gina explained. Suzi, Gina’s mom, has been baking since she was little, and taught Gina everything she knows in the kitchen. Together, they started Spooner’s Cupcakes, where they make delicious baked goods for any occasion.

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Life at Work, Life at Home

In June of 2013, Gina  was hired to work at Vaccaro’s Bakery in Clark. She is surrounded by people with industry experience–and even gets to take home some of the tasty treats. Her job consists of getting food for customers and working in the back of the bakery handling food.

“I wanted to work at the bakery for the experience,” she elucidated. “It would look good on college apps and it would allow me to see what it’s like to be in the industry.”

Her family is extremely supportive of her endeavors. Marina Ansaldo, her sister, proclaimed, “I think she’ll do well because she already has background in culinary.” Gina said of her parents, “They know it’s something I like and they know I have potential so they do a lot to help me get better.”

Gina bakes for birthdays, school functions, and other occasions. Spooner’s baked for the CHS Open House on September 18 and an Easter festival at Colonia Middle School last March–and it doesn’t end there–Gina and her mom regularly bake for their friends and family.

Gina’s sister Marina is not too shabby herself. Her children’s clothing business, Pumpkin Munchkin, has accumulated over 14,000 likes on Facebook since it started in the summer of 2011, when Marina was 16. After a few months of business, Marina received calls from modeling agencies that wanted to use her clothes. What started as a small crocheting hobby exploded into a full-blown clothing business completely run by Marina herself. Pumpkin Munchkin has become intense work–she has been overloaded with orders to the point where she has had to shut her website down. Gina is just as proud of Marina’s accomplishments as Marina is of Gina’s.

Future Star in the Culinary World

Gina has big hopes and dreams for her career. Her goal right now is to enroll in Johnson & Wales  University and major in Baking & Pastry Arts.

Baking has become a lifestyle for Gina. “I’ve become more creative and more open to different ideas,”  she explained. “I’d like to be working in a high-end bakery, like in Las Vegas or for Disney or something along those lines. I’d also like to be on a Food Network competition like Cupcake Wars, Sweet Genius, or Next Great Baker within 5 years after college.”

Marina, although supportive, anticipates a struggle coming Gina’s way: “I’m happy she’s going to college, but pastry chefs make no money.” While chefs make on average $40,000 a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gina sees herself doing better than that. She is confident that she will have her own bakery and one day get national recognition. Even her parents, Michael and Suzi, see Gina living her dream.

Gina plans to chase her dreams until they are hers. Presently, her company is doing well; in the future, Gina imagines being a successful pastry chef in a large city. Just like the smell of freshly baked bread at Vaccaro’s, Gina smells success.

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About the Contributor
Andy Kuchen
Andy Kuchen, Media Manager & Reporter
Andy Kuchen, a published poet and senior at ColoniaHigh School, has been a writer for The Declaration for over a year and a half. His articles are mainly reviews of television series as well as films. Besides journalism, he is involved in filmmaking and the Interact Club at CHS. Kuchen is a hardworking and creative person. He can typically be spotted with an iPhone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other.

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Teen Entrepreneur: One Young Baker Could Be the Next Food Network Star