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From Project Runway Finalist to Artisan Cookie Chef: Meet Wendy Pepper

When we were first introduced to Skylar Hill Confections by our friends at Betsey in Middleburg, it was love at first sight! Delicate works of edible art, these tuile cookies are as tasty as they are beautiful. We love the endless array of colors and patterns, and think they make perfect wedding favors - especially since they can be customized to match any color palette and they do double duty by enhancing the reception decor. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with the owner of Skylar Hill Confections, Wendy Pepper, to discuss her experience as a finalist on Project Runway, her career transition to master cookie chef, and her inspirations. Check out what she had to say below, and then enter our drawing for a chance to win your own box of cookie goodness by liking the Skylar Hill page on Facebook and posting a comment noting that you are entering the LilyPad Weddings drawing. One lucky winner will be selected on April 28th. You can also get a taste of these masterpieces by stopping by Market Salamander in Middleburg this Saturday, April 16th, from 12 - 2 pm. Oh, and one piece of advice, do not leave your box unattended as a certain family member or friend might just decide to finish them all while you are out running an errand (you know who you are)!

 Skylar Hill Confections

Skylar Hill Confections

 Skylar Hill Confections

Skylar Hill Confections

Before you became a master cookie chef, you were a finalist on Season 1 of Project Runway! What was your favorite challenge and why?

Winning the Banana Republic dress competition really gave me a boost of confidence.  Up until then I hadn't found my stride and I needed that vote of confidence to propel me through the tough weeks ahead.  AND I absolutely LOVED the dress I designed!

What aspect of the contestant experience did you find most surprising?

I was amazed at the stamina reserves I found I had when the stakes got very high towards the end.  I was in the company of some very talented people and even though they obviously drove me crazy at times (the camera caught that for all to see!), I was still flattered to be in the running by the end.

How/why did you decide to start Skylar Hill Confections?

I love to explore the role of color in our daily lives and I love to bake - Voila! - Skylar Hill Confections is my own personal culinary sculpture garden I can invite all my friends to share with me any time.

From where do you draw your inspirations for your flavors?

I tried to think of all the moods I get into when I'm craving a little delicacy throughout the day and at different times of the year. For now, I'm getting a lot of "assorted citrus" orders because the colors and the tastes are so evocative of the arrival of spring. Towards the fall I will expect more interest in the liquors.

What inspires your color palette and different decorative styles?

I love vibrant color - in my fashion design and on my dessert plate! The motifs I use in the production of my tuiles stem from my long interest in graphic design influences from china patterns to tapestry design.

What is the best part of being an artisan tuile chef?

Everyone loves cookies - therefore everyone loves me now!

The toughest part?

Mid-Atlantic humidity + meringue cookie recipe = accelerated hair loss!

What is your favorite flavor?

Key Lime alone, or with anything. It's tart and fresh and green is my favorite color.

Describe your ideal wedding.

My ideal wedding consists of happy people gathered together to celebrate the joy and wonder of true love. 2 People to 1000, the sentiments are the key and it has been my honor to participate both as a dress designer and now chef in helping to express the unique style and spirit of the bride and groom.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?

We are proud to offer sugar-free and gluten-free versions of our cookies.

 Skylar Hill Confections

Skylar Hill Confections

 Skylar Hill Confections

Skylar Hill Confections

All photos courtesy of Skylar Hill Confections

Thanks, Wendy! Don't forget to enter our drawing for a chance to win your own box of cookie goodness by liking the Skylar Hill page on Facebook and posting a comment noting that you are entering the LilyPad Weddings drawing. One lucky winner will be selected on April 28th.