Sean Whittington got his first true taste of cooking while attending Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences.
He chose food science as a career path, which was a two-year program at the South Side school. As a junior, the focus was the science of cooking, the science of food, sort of a chemistry class. As a senior, it was more cooking and baking. In fact, the school actually ran a business, known as Just Another Bakery.
"That's where I found my niche, where I realized that, yes, I like this," said Whittington, now 26 and living in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood.
Whittington's passion for sweets is turning into his profession, slowly.
He is the owner of First Impressions Cheesecakes & Truffles, meshing his talents with others' taste buds.
First Impressions offers a variety of cheesecakes, cupcakes, truffles, and cookies for every occasion, with numerous flavors such as vanilla bean, strawberry, cherry, blueberry and lemon.
The white chocolate raspberry swirl is the most popular cheesecake, along with the Oreo cookies n' cream.
"I'm putting my full effort into the business," said the openly gay Whittington, who was born in Milwaukee and has been living in Chicago since 1989.
First Impressions was conceived two years ago and officially opened last year. His clientele, since the business is now run out of his southside home, comes from Facebook, referrals, co-workers and elsewhere.
"Things are going pretty well. I like the direction the company is going," said Whittington, who works in security and at the front desk of a downtown apartment building.
Whittington received his food-sanitation certification last summer, and soon plans to launch a website and form an LLC.
In 2013, he plans to open his first cafÃ©-style bakery, open to the public, probably in Hyde Park and/or Bronzevilleand eventually expand nationally.
First Impressions cupcakes were sent by the Youth Pride Center to select donors last summer. "That was fun and, from that, I realized that I could do this long-term and not get tired or bored," Whittington said.
"I do expect to take this business to great levels, one day."
See "First Impressions Cheesecakes & Truffles" on Facebook.
COMPILED BY ANDREW DAVIS
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