Student Chloe Fortune

Flour power: Student finds joy and purpose in D-Hall bake shop

April 14, 2023

Student Experience

First-year student Chloe Fortune grew up in Fairfax County watching — and eventually helping — her grandmother bake cakes and cupcakes.

Her passion for baking led her to volunteer for a Cake4Kids, a nonprofit organization that makes sweets for underserved children throughout the United States. Next came opening her own business, Custom Bakes by Chloe, as a high school sophomore.

The business took off, largely through her neighborhood’s social media groups. Custom sugar cookies and individualized cupcakes and cookies were and remain top sellers. She Googles many of her recipes, but tends to experiment, too.

“I really just enjoyed doing it,” Chloe recalls of her early days as an entrepreneur. “I would get up at 5 a.m. in the morning, bake, go to school, come home and start baking again at 8 p.m.

Chloe arrived at UR for the fall 2022 semester with a goal of helping others. She plans to major in pre-medicine and eventually become an obstetrician/gynecologist.

She was drawn to the University’s bakeshop and immediately was hired based on her experience and talent for baking.

“I find a lot of joy in baking,” she says. “It’s always fun to share what you do with other people,” she said. “That’s what made me want to work in the bake shop.”

UR’s bakeshop is in the Heilman Dining Center and is open seven days a week. The bakeshop staff produce all of the desserts and breads in D-Hall as well as many of the treats sold at the retail dining locations on campus. The shop also offers catering and special event services for the University.

Chloe arrives at 6 a.m. and typically works until 10 a.m. three days a week. She is one of the shop’s six employees. Wendy Petersen, one of the two lead bakers, said about 85% of the baked goods in the dining hall are made completely from scratch.

“We are always busy, because there is always a lot happening,” Fortune said. “We are small, but mighty.” 

She also values the bakeshop’s teamwork and appreciates the training she’s received. 

“I especially love that the baked goods I’m making are going to UR students and the Spider community,” she said. “My job has become both a great outlet and a way for me to use my baking skills to benefit the University.”