Born and raised in Milton, MA, Kristen Repa is the daughter of immigrant parents. Her mother came to the US alone at age 16 from England; her father raced cars in Austria and also came alone to find a better life at the age of 20.
Kristen attended St. Mary of the Hills grammar school and Fontbonne Academy high school. Raised to be an independent thinker and doer, when it came time to choose a career Kristen opted for a European-style apprenticeship. Encouraged to cook as a young woman, she thought culinary arts would suit her energetic drive and artistic passion.
In 1993, Kristen began working at Konditor Meister bakery under the tutelage of co-owner Rebecca Moesinger. Kristen knew she was in "the right place at the right time" and quickly worked her way up the ladder to become the executive decorator's assistant. The team put put an average of 10 wedding cakes per day.
In 1996, wanting to build her resumé, Kristen started working at the Ritz Carlton Boston. It was here that she met her future husband and business partner Leonardo Savona. Working at the Ritz Carlton allowed Kristen to expand her culinary repertoire to include plated desserts, ice creams, and chocolate and sugar show pieces. It also broadened her awareness of flavor combinations and textures.
In 1998, with encouragement from Leonardo, Kristen set out for Vienna, Austria to live with her uncle Hansjorg and to gain the experience of working at the classic Konditorei Gerstner. After nearly a year of creating Apple Strudel, Sacher torte, Dobos torte, and marzipan sculptures, Kristen returned to Massachusetts to become the pastry chef at The Catered Affair in Hingham. There, she was able to bring all of her experiences together, baking cakes and desserts for celebrities including President Bill Clinton, Aerosmith's Joe Perry, and the Kennedy family.
In 2001, with help from their families, Kristen and Leonardo gathered their savings to purchase a small bakery in Medfield, MA, naming it "Dessert Works." They quickly outgrew their space there as Kristen's desserts and cakes gained a reputation for artistic flair and delicious taste. In 2004 they relocated to Norwood, MA, and in February 2011 relocated to Lambert's Plaza in Westwood.
Dessert Works has grown to employ nearly 10 full time employees and is proud to have become many families' go-to bakery for all their get togethers.
Kristen and Leonardo live in Canton, MA with their two dogs. They are expecting their first child in January 2012.
We often get inquiries about teaching baking and decorating classes. Unfortunately, we are no longer able to offer them. We do apologize for any inconvenience.