Originally from Western New York, Laird’s interest in cooking sparked as a young child decorating Christmas cookies with her mother. What began as a holiday tradition, developed into a passion that allows Laird to combine her interests in math, science, art and business.
Laird honed her pastry skills at the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park Campus and graduated with an AOS Baking and Pastry Arts in 2007. Throughout her career, she has been privileged to hold many positions within the kitchen including Pastry Commis at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, Calif., where she won the Core Award; an honor bestowed upon the individual that best displays the CORE values of the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group. Laird was also the Pastry Chef at Michelin starred Ubuntu Restaurant in Napa, Executive Pastry Chef at The Carneros Inn in Napa Valley, and Executive Chef and Pastry Chef at Aveline Restaurant in San Francisco.
Laird is a classically trained pastry chef with a distinct perspective. She utilizes her experience with savory ingredients to broaden her repertoire of flavor combinations to create distinctly unique desserts using local, fresh and seasonal ingredients. Laird’s motto is “Flavor first. Just because a dish isn’t traditional, doesn’t mean it won’t be amazing.” Using her own dietary restrictions as inspiration, she is skilled at creating both dairy and gluten-free dishes.
Kaley is a new resident of North Carolina, and when she is not in the kitchen at Rhubarb, she enjoys culinary exploration, working out and exploring Western North Carolina.
Over 20 immersive signature events are featured throughout the weekend! Tours, dinners, parties, foraging and more await.
This inspired, friendly and free-spirited food scene tucked in the mountains of Appalachia has been called “Foodtopia,” but the locals just call it home. Plan your trip now.