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THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: Winnette McIntosh Ambrose

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People,Abby Hamblin

Ambrose is a chemical engineer who developed her passion for baking and opened her own boutique bakery, the Sweet Lobby, at Barracks Row on Capitol Hill. She is also a winner of the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars."

How did you get involved with making sweets?

I was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and came to the U.S. to study engineering. ... While I was an undergrad at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I double-majored in French and literature and I studied in Paris. That's when I fell in love with the beauty and craft of French pastry. So pretty much since then I have been obsessively developing my own recipes and recently added cupcakes to the mix. I still have an active career in engineering. I have a passion for science, but I am obsessed with pastries.

How have things changed since winning "Cupcake Wars"?

The exposure we got has really helped to bring a lot more people through our doors and we have gained the attention of a much larger audience. We have the privilege now of serving people from all over the world.

Doing anything special for the election?

We have dubbed ourselves the "political pastry polling headquarters." We are doing election-themed cupcakes as well as French macaroons. We hand-airbrush all of the pieces so they have a beautiful watercolor affect on them. We are tracking them and post our poll results on Facebook. Right now Obama is in the lead.

Favorite thing?

Being in the pastry industry has been a phenomenal opportunity to incorporate the flavors and techniques I love into something people can enjoy. What I bring to the table is a technical background and global perspective. So really that is what gives me the satisfaction is to play around and really experiment with flavors.

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