About Jen Barney

Jen Barney, Food Network Holiday Baking Champion

Jen Barney’s reputation for creating desserts that look as exquisite as they taste is now known nationwide. The Wisconsin-based pastry chef and owner of Meringue Bakery catapulted to fame and proved her fierce culinary skills when she won Food Network’s Season 4 Holiday Baking Championship. Her creations throughout the series showcased the skill, passion and talent that have people calling her the Doyenne of Desserts.

A classically trained baker and pastry chef and graduate of the acclaimed Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Jen began her career ten years ago as a wedding cake decorator. Her career has taken her from the Twin Cities area to New Mexico and back home to Wisconsin. Along the way, she has prepared desserts and pastries for large banquets and restaurants, designed specialty dessert lines, trained coworkers in food safety and created decadent desserts, confections and cakes for a variety of occasions. Before opening Meringue Bakery, Jen served as head pastry chef at the Waterfront Restaurant and Tavern in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

People often marvel at the artistry in her work. What they don’t know is that Jen completed three semesters in the University of Wisconsin system with art education as her declared major. Another little-known but surprising fact about Jen is that in a previous life, she worked as a corrections officer in an all-male prison for three years.

Today, Jen is best known for her elegant wedding cakes and unique, custom flavors—from classical and subtle to novel and bold. Each wedding cake she creates is one of a kind made especially for the one-of-a-kind couple and, where possible, made with seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Specialties include edible flowers and hand-painted and sculpted cakes. Jen also offers seasonal items and party favors along with pastries and personalized desserts for corporate events.

When not in her commercial kitchen, Jen enjoys spending time with her ten-month-old daughter Millie and her husband Brian.