Welcome! I’m Rachel Ellrich Miller and I am the owner and chef of Pistol Whipped Pastry, and the writer and photographer of Croissant In The City.
I was born and raised in Erie, Pa, the land of pepperoni balls, sponge candy, and french fries on salads. Truthfully, they serve french fries on top of salads of iceberg lettuce. My family owns a business that makes labels, nameplates & decals, and now custom apparel. We are now located in Phoenix, Az, and still going strong after almost 50 years, now with the bebe, 4 generations.
I got a bachelor’s degree from Penn State in print and photojournalism, interned at the Pentagon in Press Operations, thinking I wanted to work in government or politics. While interning at the Pentagon, I would spend my nights and weekends eating all over DC, and cooking & baking in my tiny apartment in Alexandria, Va. My colleagues were the recipients of lots of weekend baked goods. One day before I left, one of the senior press ops guys pulled me aside, told me I was a breath of fresh air in the office, and that I had more to offer the world than sitting in a cubicle. He encouraged me to pursue what I truly loved. I worked for a private PR firm in DC for another year before I made the decision to move west to Arizona to be near my family, who were also moving to Arizona.
I spent a couple years lost, before realizing I really wanted to be a food writer and photographer, so I attended Le Cordon Bleu for culinary school. Starting my culinary career in Thomas Keller’s Bouchon kitchen, I was able to hone my pastry and baking skills and build the foundation of my kitchen knowledge. I fell in the love with with pace and energy of the professional kitchen at Bouchon and knew that I needed to keep working in the restaurant industry, not just be a food writer. Missing the Arizona desert, I headed back to Phoenix, taking a position at True Food Kitchens, a health food restaurant.
True Foods Kitchen is a great restaurant doing healthy food that tastes good, but it can be limiting to a person trained in French pastry. Grateful for the exposure to a different kind of pastry, but desperate for more butter, eggs, and sugar, I then accepted a position helping to open Jean-George Vongerichten’s J&G Steakhouse in the Phoenician Resort, Scottsdale, Arizona.
With an offer from The Parlor Pizzeria, I joined their opening team, creating and maintaining the pastry and bread program. The Parlor opened me to a new and different structure in the kitchen, as it was much more relaxed than any kitchen I’d previously worked in. It’s here I had the space and freedom to really start to find my voice as a pastry chef.
Mr. PC and I started dating and eventually, I moved to be closer to his job. I accepted a position in Yuma, Arizona, revamping and restructuring a farm bakery at From the Farm. At From the Farm, I stepped in and set-up a farm bakery: hiring staff, overseeing the set-up of the bakery, recipe testing and menu development, setting up vendors, and so on.
Mr. PC took a new position, so we headed back to the civilization of Phoenix. I stepped into executive pastry chef position at Starfire Golf Course. Moving on to work as the executive pastry chef at Cartel Coffee Lab, I rekindled my love for breakfast pastry while sipping delicious Cartel cappuccinos (and I drank a lot of those!). I then moved on to a position with Chow Locally where I became their chef consultant, working to inspire cooking with local, sustainable, organic produce. Craving creative freedom and my own brand, I officially launched Pistol Whipped Pastry in 2013.
I am a food & travel writer and photographer. Previously I worked as a columnist for Phoenix New Times – Chow Bella, as well as Arizona Wine Lifestyles magazine, and Stratejoy.com. I have contributed pieces to the Christian Science Monitor, Green Living AZ magazine, and YourZenMama.com.
Currently, I live in Phoenix, Arizona with my husband, @mrpc_bandc, and our daughter, the bebe.
Need a recipe tester, food stylist, or have a great product you think I would love to share with my readers? Please reach out to me with the specification of your up coming project, and we will see if working together would be a great fit. Email me.