The Catholic University of America

Alexandra Mudry

Alumna Fulfills Bakeshop Dreams

Hand-dipped chocolates, wedding cakes, and French macarons are all in a day's work for alumna and pastry chef Alexandra Mudry, B.A. 2005, who believes that making great mistakes is one of the joys of baking.

"Baking requires a good balance between confidence and humility," says Mudry. "You have to believe in yourself — but you also have to know that mistakes are a really good thing."

Equal parts culinarian, dedicated businessperson, and performer, Mudry studied in the drama department at Catholic University, where she juggled her time between acting and costume design, planning events with Program Board, and serving as president of Kappa Tau Gamma, CUA's social service sorority.

"I took on a lot as a student, but my responsibilities taught me how to multitask," reflects Mudry. "And Catholic gave me a lot of confidence — not only in performing on a stage, but in who I am as a person and who I am turning out to be in the kitchen."

When she graduated from CUA 10 years ago, Mudry didn't know how much her background in theatre would inform her career as a cake decorator and pastry chef. As a theatre major in a smaller department, she had to learn how to do everything, from acting and costuming to customer service and marketing. That can-do attitude clearly carries over into her current career.

"It's a lot of work and you have to be very much invested," says Mudry. "A lot of what I learned at Hartke translates: you have to own every minute, every line, every costume change -— and, now, every chocolate or bite of cake."

She also recognizes her time in the drama department as the push she needed to take the first steps toward the career she always wanted.

"I so clearly remember sitting in theatre lab with Dr. Tom [Donahue] and Gail [Beach]. The first thing they would say before
every class was, 'If you can imagine yourself — even for a second — anywhere else, in any other career, then you should go there, now.'"

A native New Yorker from Westchester County, Mudry grew up an hour south of The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). Family trips to CIA's campus restaurants left Mudry feeling inspired. Although she wanted to enroll at CIA out of high school, her parents encouraged her to pursue a liberal arts education at CUA.

"I'm so glad it turned out the way it did — really. My time at Catholic U. gave me the skills and life experience I needed to be laser-focused later on."

After culinary school, Mudry spent a handful of years in New York at shops such as Bouley Bakery, Bedford Post, and Mercato. She returned to D.C. in 2010, after accepting a position as the pastry sous chef at Buzz Bakery in Alexandria.

From there, she added on the positions of lead decorator and wedding coordinator and helped to grow the cake program at the bakery. She's spent the last year as the pastry chef at Grassroots Gourmet in Bloomingdale — a stone's throw from Brookland — while setting up a shop of her own: Buttercream Bakeshop.

While Mudry wasn't able to get a ticket to the Papal Mass, she had front row seats to this motorcade in Bloomingdale on Rhode Island Avenue.

"I saw the Pope drive to campus and back again. I waved 'hi' and 'bye!' and then went back to making cookies."

While at Grassroots Gourmet, Mudry has been a developing partner and lead decorator in Buttercream, which will open in
Shaw in early 2016.

"Buttercream's menu will include scones, quick breads, croissants, and savory items as well as our signature cookies, layer cakes, and confections. We'll also continue to focus on wedding and custom cakes — making sure to have a little bit of something for everyone."

They will also be hosting a pop-up shop at Union Market Nov. 20 through Nov. 22, featuring some of their favorite fall holiday treats including pies and cookie sandwiches.

(Article courtesy of the Office of Alumni Relations)

 

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Alexandra Mudry

Hometown: Westchester County, N.Y.

Major: Drama

Extracurricular activities: Program Board and Kappa Tau Gamma

Name of her bakeshop: Buttercream Bakeshop