conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Just Dessert


December 2012

Milwaukee’s Sarah Mironczuk was the last chef standing on a recent episode of the Food Network’s "Sweet Genius."

Sarah Mironczuk had a pet tarantula named "Pablo," calls herself "Zombie Girl," was born a week before Halloween and her 2-year old daughter, Bernadette, entered the world on a Friday the 13th.

Is it any wonder that Mironczuk was a recent winner on the Food Network’s "Sweet Genius," a show where chefs concoct competitive desserts, that was also taped on a Friday the 13th with a Halloween theme and Sarah’s winning dish was a cake shaped like a tarantula?

"I had no idea what the challenge would be until I got there," says Mironczuk, who grew up in the Milwaukee area.

Mironczuk’s life has been more like the "Amazing Race" the past nine months. After living for four years in Sacramento, where she worked at a patisserie, she moved back to Milwaukee last February deciding Wisconsin was a better place to raise her daughter.

She was hired as a pastry cook at Harbor House in July. "Working for the Bartolottas has been incredible. They treat employees famously."

But before starting at Harbor House, Mironczuk had applied online to win a spot on "Sweet Genius." After several phone and Skype interviews, the show’s producers contacted her. "I got the call and taped the show the next week."

On each program, Ron Ben Israel, the charismatic host and delightful madman of desserts (who built a prosperous cake empire), presents four chefs with three different elimination challenges, introducing random ingredients (black radishes and pearl onions on Sarah’s episode) in the middle of the preparation. "I was sweating every time chef Ron tasted one of my desserts," she says.

But after preparing a flourless chocolate cake that looked like a grave, a trio of candies with a ghost meringue and the aforementioned tarantula cake, Mironczuk was the last chef left standing, capturing the top prize of $10,000.

"This has brought stability to our home. My daughter (Mironczuk is a single mom) and I just moved into a great new home and we had all of our stuff shipped from California," she says.

"Plus it’s proved I’m doing what I should be doing and I’m as good as I’m trying to be." Mironczuk says she wants to learn her craft by working with more prestigious pastry chefs with the ultimate goal of opening her own bakery in Milwaukee. "This is home. I feel there’s a special place for my niche here."

Hot spot Alert

Looking for the hot spot or a place to chill when you’re out?

There’s an app for that.

SceneTap launched in Milwaukee this summer at more than 20 venues, such as Nomad World Pub, Karma Bar and Suite Lounge.

SceneTap uses anonymous facial detection technology to provide users with real-time information on the local bar scene, including crowd size, male-to-female ratio, average age, and food and drink specials. The app is free for iPhone, Android and the Web.

Check it out at


This story ran in the December 2012 issue of: