Balancing family and time at work is a challenge many face. One local pastry chef’s success doing so results in some of the best cheesecakes you’ve ever tasted, even for those of us who are experienced ourselves in making cheesecake.
Heather Fulton Jacobson, of North Mr. Pizza, grew up working in restaurants. She left Rochester after graduating from Mayo High School to travel and have new experiences.
She was working at a bakery in Oregon when her parents, Mark and Jane Fulton, made an offer to her and her two brothers to join as business partners in a restaurant. As things developed, Heather and brother Rick wound up attending Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, in Minneapolis/St. Paul, together, receiving their diplomas in 2004.
She spent her externship in France, working in a small hotel restaurant on the Brittany Coast, where she furthered her culinary skills and reaffirmed her passion for baking.
Two years ago, when her daughter was born, Jacobson found she had to set a schedule to balance family life with the demands of her job running a seven-day-a-week establishment. Monday is her “day off” from the restaurant — her “mommy-child day.” Saturday is “daddy-child day” and Sunday is “family day.”
Asked about her favorite food to eat, other than pizza and cheesecake, she is quick to note how she loves authentic Mediterranean food. The reality is that such dishes often take a great deal of time to prepare. Her favorite food to cook at home has become steak and potatoes, or stews and soups — comfort foods that are not too difficult to prepare.
There are several kitchen tools and ingredients she couldn’t live without: a good mixer, a high quality chef’s knife, quality butter, the best chocolate, her convection oven and, she says, “patience.”
Asked when she is happiest at work, Jacobson said, “Every day, though especially when people come in and tell me how much they love my cheesecake. That makes all my hard work worth it.”
Jacobson is conscientious in every detail of cheesecake preparation. She crafts each from scratch, incorporating the best quality ingredients she can find. It’s a two-day process: the first day making the crust and filling, then baking the cake; the second day preparing and layering the topping.
Flavors change seasonally, with the inspiration for new ones sometimes coming from customer comments. As you try different flavors, pay attention from top to crust! Whether it is raspberry white chocolate, apple crisp, pumpkin, tiramisu, coconut cream or pistachio cheesecake, to name a few of the varieties, each specialty filling presents with its own unique crust and topping.
In an attempt to address special dietary needs or preferences, Jacobson tries to have a gluten-free cheesecake option in the case each day. Sorry vegans — while the current menu at North Mr Pizza offers vegan-friendly fare, for now, the cheesecakes aren’t for you.
Cheesecake makes a grand finale to many meals or as a stand-alone treat. With the upcoming holidays, if you are planning to serve cheesecake and don’t have time to prepare one, those available at North Mr Pizza are the perfect solution. Be sure to call ahead and place an order to assure the flavor you want is available.
When dining in or for take-out, cheesecake can be ordered off the menu by the slice.