We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Rasul and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
There is so much in life that involves taking risk. I have always had the same goal of owning a bakery, since I was very young. When you have a specific path that you are set on, and your every decision is based off of that dream, that path, you end up taking a lot of risk. There was a mentality of “do whatever takes to get there”. A lot of people will tell you not to put all of your eggs in one basket, but sometimes, you need to give everything you have, to an idea that there’s a chance you can achieve. That’s how it was for me when it came to Gateaux.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the most unique things about our shop, is our custom cakes. There is no manual when it comes to shaped cakes and custom cakes. We make everything by hand, and each cake artist has their own style. These items can’t just be replicated with printing or shaped cake pans- where is the creativity in that? I began working in bakeries on the east coast when I was young. I was fortunate enough to work in places that all had differences in what they made, how they made it, and how they sold it. I worked in one bakery that had wall to wall brick ovens and watching bakers know the hot spots of these ovens to bake cakes and breads evenly, was incredible. I worked at another bakery where after years of being open they had discovered they hadn’t been charging enough for their product, so the business wasn’t profiting. There are a lot of lessons to learn, and some of them are very hard, because you can truly lose everything you have, in making the wrong decisions. This industry is not easy on the body and is not for the faint of heart. The last year of ownership, which was my first, proved to be most challenging in a multitude of ways. How do I balance decorating cakes and delivering weddings and balance the books too? how do I staff accordingly? Do I close my doors during a pandemic or do I risk staying open and having enough business to pay my employees? Where do I get product when no one can get eggs or cream or fresh fruit? All of these are choices you are faced with every day. It’s not easy to change all of the hats all of the time, especially when it is your first rodeo, and then you go home and put your mommy hat on, because you’ve been at work for upwards of fourteen hours, but there is a six year old who has been waiting for you to hug him and ask how his day was. The biggest lesson that I learned this year, is no matter what happens to you- just keep going. I want the world to know that we are here because we want to be a pillar in our community. We want to play a part in the most important pieces in our neighbor’s, friend’s and family’s lives. There is no greater joy than that. Feeding people with love, and sweets, traditions and memories is the top of the mountain for us.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
OK here its goes : I would want to eat at the Cherry Cricket for burgers, Guard and Grace for steaks, Panzano for the chef’s table, Zero degrees for watermelon slushies, and North in Cherry Creek for cocktails.
For entertainment, messages at Elixir, hair treatment and blow out at Matthew Morris in RiNo, facials at Alchemy Bar a drive to Vail, Breckenridge, or Beaver Creek, or maybe even glamping in Royal Gorge. I really want a reason to have the Mountain Crust Pizza truck set up somehwere- they look amazing. For a more casual outing, I love the Lowry Beer Garden. My son really enjoys the rocket ship ice cream stand and the airplanes!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is no team like my team. I have the most dedicated women around me, who eat, sleep, and breathe all that is pastry. We are a family- these are the women that I spend most of my life with on a regular basis. I treat my shop ,much like a sports team. I give credit where and to whom it is due- I critique on the court so to speak, to keep a competitive atmosphere between the group. We vote together on which formulas and flavors make the cut for our menu and offerings each month. Every opinion matters- every idea and suggestion gets heard. We have family dinner and engage in team building activities outside of work, because we truly enjoy and appreciate each other as people. We are daughters, wives, friends, and mothers outside of what we bring to the table professionally. We all come from different cultural, religious, and racial backgrounds and those differences are celebrated within the group. All of my team members, Alondra, Danielle, Jasinda, Hannah, Lily, Sophia, and TJ (Our only male employee) are the reason that Gateaux is what it is.