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Our Team

Chef Earl Vallery

Founder, Pastry Chef, Bon Mangeur

Pastry Chef Earl Vallery has 14+ years experience in the food world, both in and out of the kitchen: from managing the crew at Tecolote Farm and teaching at the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin, TX, to working in cave-like, fluorescent-lit corporate bakeries and mom-and-pop pastry shops alike. In 2017, he settled in his new home of Charlottesville, VA, and pursued a project all his own: Bowerbird Bakeshop

He enjoys dogs and all of the food. All of it.

 

Maria Niechwiadowicz

Pastry Sous Chef, Outreach Coordinator, Joy Maker

Maria hails from South Dakota where she grew up cooking with her dad and baking Scandinavian treats from her grandmother’s recipe book. Just like the Bowerbird builds its nest out of eclectic and interesting pieces, so has Maria journeyed thus far. From musical theatre, to children and youth ministry, teaching English abroad and implementing food education programs in Charlottesville- creating and sharing food has always been a central part of each chapter. Maria is a creative can-doer who keeps the team organized and uses her experience in cultivating community to ensure Bowerbird is living out its mission everyday.

In her free time Maria enjoys hiking with her husband, drinking wine on her patio, teaching dance fitness, and nurturing her sourdough starter. 

 

Francesca Rinaldo

Pastry Cook, Cookie Queen, Scone Ambassador

Fran is the youngin’ of the trio, but what she lacks in age she makes up for in whole-hearted enthusiasm and creativity (she’s still trying to convince everyone of the genius of a pimiento cheese macaron)! She keeps the team laughing with her “Story of the Week” and commitment to ending food waste by whatever questionable means necessary.

When she’s not baking, she loves to knit, be outside, and cook elaborate dinners for her friends and loved ones. 

 

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