The Austin Chronicle

Erica Waksmunski's Got a Brand New Bag

By Virginia B. Wood, October 27, 2014, 10:15am, On the Range

Earlier this year, Erica Waksmunski walked away from a high profile pastry chef position in order to start the Red Star Southern food trailer, serving Southern comfort food in the parking lot of the Grackle. She's keeping the trailer, but now she's having her cake and making it too.

Waksmunski announced late Friday that she has accepted the position of executive pastry chef at Parkside Projects, chef Shawn Cirkiel's restaurant group that currently includes parkside, backspace, olive & june, and chavez. The company has been without a pastry chef since Steven Cak moved on to Contigo a few months back.

Waksmunski admits the offer came as a surprise and was very humbling, saying in an email "I was so taken aback. He said I was the first person in mind to take over the position. I am so flattered. Not only that he liked my food so much, but that he thought I was the right fit to take over such a large and still growing operation."

In a conversation late Friday night, Erica confirmed that one of the things she finds most attractive about signing on with Parkside Projects is the supportive working atmosphere. In her new position, she will design and oversee pastry production at all of the company's restaurants but will have time to work alongside her own employees in the trailer, as well. "Shawn's exact words were 'Make your schedule so that you can be in the trailer, too' so that's exactly what I plan to do. I felt like in taking this position, Shawn gets what he wants, I am enabled to create more jobs for the community, and I get to have my cake and chicken, too. Everybody wins!" Waksmunski expects to begin her new job sometime in early November.

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