Janet Welk was raised in Wasco, Oregon in a family of close knit women, each with a passion for making candy and chocolates. Her mother, Maxine, was an expert at fudge while sister, Virginia, was a master at toffee, divinity and fudge. “We would buy sugar by the 50 pound bag!”  laughs Janet.

A hobby soon became a family business with holidays bringing orders from around the region for caramels, hand dipped chocolates and truffles. “Candy making is an intense activity that requires great focus and attention to detail. People don’t realize the difficulty in keeping chocolate shiny and making toffee that is a perfect golden color,” explains Janet. “It takes years of practice and patience. For the women of my family it was not just perfecting a craft but the joy of having people appreciate our products. A smile of chocolate bliss is a good thing.”

After years of cooking, baking and candy making, Janet wanted to expand her skills to professional catering. She already had garnered experience having worked in a commercial kitchen for a large assisted living complex. Maryhill Museum was another catering client. A friend, who knew Janet from his autumn hunting trips in Wasco, suggested Janet contact Elaine Frances, Head Chef at Global Aviation, for a position. She started by catering in-flight meals on a part-time basis. Currently, she also works as a private chef for a client associated with Global Aviation. Janet likes the challenge of preparing different meals each day for various diets.

Janet believes in giving back to her community and church. She returns to her home town of Wasco and teaches baking classes to students in the 4H program and to children in the day care center. It is a skill that she believes is not only practical, but one that can bring solace. Janet lost her sister to cancer in 1988. “I think of Virginia and the wonderful times we shared every time I make her cherry nut divinity…it’s as though she is still in the kitchen with me.”

Janet’s other activities include gardening, hiking and teaching her own 19 month old granddaughter, Harlo, how to bake.

“Harlo loves mixing batter,” states Janet. “She wants her own Kitchen Aid Mixer!”

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