Meet Vanessa Greeley

Chef Greeley was almost Lieutenant Greeley.  Born and raised in a military family in Lima, Peru, Vanessa’s father was a General in the army, and her mother—a General in the kitchen. From them, she inherited an unyielding determination to succeed.

This drive fueled her in teen sports, from gymnastics and volleyball to basketball and parachuting. Competitive? Just a little.

When her passions moved elsewhere, Vanessa followed, relocating to the US to pursue computer studies at Columbia and NYU.

Vanessa’s inner resolve received its greatest test when she was diagnosed with cancer. Now cancer free, her illness actually led to her pastry career today. While recovering from her illness, Greeley came across the Food Network Challenge television program. The blend of art, science and competition amazed and inspired her.  Chef Greeley was born.

Today, a graduate from French Culinary Institute in NY, Vanessa’s work can be seen at some of the most prestigious cake competitions throughout the country.  Her accolades include a gold medal at the 2008 American Bakery Expo, Best in Show trophy at the 2009 National Capital Area Cake Show, first place and Divisional medals at the 2009 Great American Cake Show, first place at the 2010 NY Cake Convention Live Challenge, first place at the 2010 Great American Cake Show Live Challenge, second place at the 2010 Connecticut Cake Competition Live Challenge, second place at the 2010 National Capital Area Cake Show.  She has consulted for Dove Chocolate Discoveries developing recipes for their Entertaining magazine.  Her work has also been featured in Baking Buyer magazine, Cake Central magazine, 201 Magazine, The Record newspaper, The Gazette newspaper, CBS news, NY1, Fox News, CNN, Yahoo news, Reuters and First Look on CNBC to name a few.

Vanessa competed on a live challenge for Wedding Cake Wars on WEtv, she has been a guest chef on Telemundo’s “Cooking with Susso” television show, guest chef on Univision’s “Housewives of Connecticut” television show.  She has also designed and created a chocolate dress for the Chocolate Fashion Show in NY since 2008 along side of Tony award winning costume designers.  Most recently Vanessa earned second place on the Chocolate Myths episode of FoodNetwork’s Challenge TV show and on the When Toys Come to Life episode of FoodNetwork’s Sugar Dome TV show.

When she is not baking or teaching, Chef Greeley enjoys giving back to the community.  She served as the keynote speaker for the Alpine Youth Challenge at the United Nations.   She also makes cakes for Icing Smiles, an organization dedicated to helping critically ill children. And she was a guest demo instructor for the Ede Youth Foundation, which promotes self-improvement among young people in Haiti and Jamaica. Vanessa also served as the Event Coordinator at the Garden State Cake Show in New Jersey for two years, raising funds to feed the hungry while promoting sugar arts.

In 2012, Vanessa was elected as the International Cake Exploration Society (ICES) Representative for the state of New Jersey where she is committed to building a stronger cake community.

One thing is certain. For Chef Greeley, the oven is just warming up.

Fun Facts about Chef Greeley

  • Her first chocolate headpiece made for the Chocolate Fashion show in 2008 weighed 20 lbs!
  • Can make a knot out of a cherry stem in her mouth
  • As a teen, her first chicken soufflé featured a surprise ingredient—a metal screw. Oops.
  • At 7 years of age, she was the only girl that qualified to jump out of a building during a mini-parachuting class. None of the boys had the nerve.
  • She has owned at least 12 pair of crutches in her life.  You could say that tripping almost became a sport for her.