Nina DeBoer, 14, is celebrating the state certification of her in-home bakery business, Nina's Belicious Bakery.
DeBoer began baking cupcakes, cookies and cakes when she was just 10, after becoming inspired by the TLC television show "Cake Boss."
Becoming certified by the Indiana State Department of Health is rare for most in-home bakers, and DeBoer’s kitchen underwent a rigorous evaluation.
“Since you can never use a personal kitchen to provide food for sale to the public, most people don't even have the option to try, but we do have two kitchens in our house,” DeBoer said.
“The Indiana State Department of Health spent a couple of hours with me in the bakery and checked everything, and when she had taken the final water sample, she printed my certification and told me ‘Nina, go sell some stuff!’”
“I waited until she left before I started jumping up and down.”
DeBoer was warned initially that becoming certified was a difficult task. “I sort of thought that was it, there was just no way,” she said.
“But my mom said, ‘Nina, work the problem, don't let the problem work you'. So she helped me break down all the steps that needed to be done one by one, and I just started doing the steps.”
To master her craft, DeBoer attended Wilton’s two- week Master Cake Decorating Course held in Darien, Ill. last year.
“I was the youngest student, but I'm kind of getting used to that. Once the adults in class could see that I was there to learn and that I had to pay for the class myself, they treated me like any other student.”
In addition, DeBoer recently attended a baking and pastries camp at Kendall College in Chicago on a scholarship from the school, and was invited to return for an advanced baking class.
She plans for part of her baking proceeds to benefit the Carmelite Home for Girls in East Chicago.
The daughter of Scott and Lisa DeBoer, of Dyer, DeBoer is homeschooled and will enter the ninth grade this fall with a 3.9 grade point average. She plans to return to Kendall College in Chicago to study Baking and Pastry Arts after high school.