Katlin Pfropper has come a long way from making home videos with names like ‘Chefy Chefy’ and being the kid who got flour all over herself while baking cookies.
Now, the St. Clair baker can say she has competed in a Netflix show with a friend and won $10,000, competed in World Ice Art Championships in Alaska and will be competing in the IKA/Culinary Olympics in Germany in February.
Pfropper said things are getting a little crazy.
“I don’t mind crazy,” she said, but some days it is like, “good lord!”
Getting frosty with Pfrosted
Pfropper has always enjoyed baking and attended Macomb Community College’s arts program.
In the past, she’d make cakes and ice sculptures by request, but never made an actual business out of it.
With the recent publicity from competing on the Netflix show “Sugar Rush Christmas,” she decided to build the business.
Her family encouraged her to do more and she thought it was probably time to make it a legit thing and give it a name.
What could she do for both ice sculptures and cakes though?
Well, there’s the frostiness with ice, and the frosting on cakes, and her last name of Pfropper, so why not Pfrosted?
Pfropper said since she got the LLC she’s seen an increase in orders, and she’s gotten even more so with publicity from the show.
“It was like a perfect opportunity for me to start something,” she said.
The pricing for her products depends on what the customer wants. Certain specialty flavors or fillings can cost more.
“I like getting new cake orders,” she said. “It’s fun to do different things each time.”
Carving out some time for ice carving
Along with cakes, Pfropper also takes orders for ice sculptures.
She never thought she would get into ice carving, but who does think they are going to stumble into that, she asked.
Her instructor, chef Jeff Wolf, owns an ice business and has an ice shop in Frasier.
The standard size of an ice block is 20 inches by 40 inches by 10 inches and the blocks can weigh 280 to 320 pounds.
What she carves depends if she’s carving for a competition or for a customer.
Sometimes the customer will send her a photo from online of something they like. Pfropper will blow the image up to be the size of the ice block and will use the template as a guideline to make the sculpture.
She does sculptures for weddings, including monograms and hearts, and also makes ice bowls for food shows or meat and seafood displays.
Pfropper said it takes her an hour to three hours to complete a sculpture depending on the creation.
Winning $10,000 on Netflix with a friend
Pfropper said that she has watched the episode on “Sugar Rush Christmas” a couple times.
When she was little, she and her family would make fun little videos named things like “Chefy Chefy” so the Netflix show almost felt like something just her family would see.
She and fellow participant Jim Ford, who owns Jimmy’s Sweets LLC in Riley Township, competed in the episode “Winter Wonderland” where the rounds were winter-themed.
In the first round they had to make cupcakes centered around wintertime activities like sledding and ice skating. The flavors had to reflect the “icy flavors of winter,” the show’s host Hunter March said in the episode.
Pfropper and Ford decided to make peppermint vanilla latte cupcakes with a chocolate ganache peppermint center with an ice fishing theme, which is a “huge thing” in Michigan.
“My dad always took me so we thought we’d incorporate that into the design,” Pfropper said on the show.
For the second round, the two made a white chocolate bomba, a frozen dessert with different flavors frozen inside of each other, with coffee ricotta mousse, eggnog gelato and a chocolate wafer cookie.
The judges did not have a single negative comment on their confection and it was a favorite “icy confection that warmed up their cold, cold hearts,” March said.
For the final cake round, the two decided to make two giant snowmen having a snowball fight with a snowman festival going on. It was a cinnamon swirl cake with a cinnamon whiskey buttercream.
And it was enough to win over the judges, as their cake was voted the favorite and the two won $10,000.
Both Pfropper and Ford can be seen with their hands on their faces in shock at the end of the episode.
Pfropper said in a text message conversation that they haven’t received the prize money yet but she will probably invest it and purchase more baking supplies. Ford said he wants to buy more property if his wife lets him, as well as competition supplies.
It still kind of blows her mind they won, she said.
“I was really in complete shock! I couldn’t believe we had won a TV show,” Pfropper said in a text. “I have always watched these show growing up only dreaming of getting to be on them, but then actually winning one?!? It was absolutely incredible!”
Some of Pfropper’s other competitions
Netflix isn’t the only place Pfropper has competed.
Her instructor, Wolf, said he took her to the World Championship Ice Carving competition in Alaska in 2016 where she competed with “the best ice carvers in the world.”
Pfropper said the team scored 10th place in the abstract category of the competition.
“She was hands down,” the person Wolf wanted with him at the competition, he said.
Wolf works at Macomb Community College, which is where he met Pfropper for the first time about five years ago. He has an ice carving company and she carves for him now professionally, he said.
Although Wolf said he’ll be in Alaska for another ice carving competition in February, Macomb Community College has three chefs who will be participating at the IKA/Culinary Olympics in Germany, with Pfropper.
Chef teams work on the perfect mix of ingredients, preparation and presentation and more than 2,000 chefs are expected to compete, according to the the competition’s website.
Pfropper said she will be doing culinary sculptures with sugar dough and gum paste.
A chef mentioned the Olympics to her at the college and she had to do a trial piece and be selected.
“It’s pretty crazy,” she said. “I can’t believe it sometimes.”
Pfropper said she will also be participating in ice carving at Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth in January.
Where you can find Pfropper’s work in the future
Bryan Ulatowski, Pfropper’s uncle and St. Clair Chamber of Commerce president, said people can see Pfropper in action at the Riverview Plaza this January.
There will be live ice carving starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17, and starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 18.
Ulatowski said Pfropper will be making sculptures in front of 12 different businesses.
“It’s just amazing to see what she can turn a block of ice into,” he said.
Ulatowski doesn’t think the city has had live ice carvings before, so it will be interesting to see what they and other businesses can do in the future.
Pfropper said she’s excited for the event in St. Clair and thinks it will be fun to carve for people in the city she lives in.
Eventually she wants to teach classes, either at Macomb Community College or as side classes, and she would also like to make a new version of Painting with a Twist, like maybe people learn how to make cupcakes instead of painting.
Wolf said whoever Pfropper works with or for in the future will love her attitude and work ethic.
“I don’t doubt for a moment she’s going to be successful at what she does,” he said.
Bryce Airgood is the business reporter for the Times Herald. Have questions or a story idea? You can contact her at (810) 989-6202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bairgood123.
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