TYLER, Texas (KETK) — Kortney McMillian, TJC culinary professor, has been named Pastry Chef of the Year by the East Texas Chapter of the Texas Chefs Association for the year of 2023 by a vote of chapter members. Following her win, she can go on to compete at the state level for the Pastry Chef Award, in 2024.

“I’m able to be that mentor to beginning chefs and new students in this industry to help continue to push themselves to be the best to create future generations of chefs and teachers,” said McMillian about her award.

McMillian is in her third year as a faculty member of the TJC Culinary Arts Department, teaching fundamental of baking, nutrition lecture and other classes on making ice cream sandwiches, pasta and pizza.

“I truly enjoy showing people a passion for creating food and baking different products to create memories,” she said. “It can take people back to their grandma’s kitchen, cooking a meal, and just enjoying family time.”

McMillian is a member of the American Culinary Federation, which is the largest chef’s organization in the United States.

Her next step is to become a certified pastry chef through the ACF, and she hopes to continue teaching at TJC and sharing valuable lessons about baking and love.

The TJC President has recommended she decorate a cake for this year’s auction.

McMillian’s cake sold for $11,000 at the fundraiser back in 2021.