Janet Rikala studied food and nutrition at the University of Minnesota. After graduating, she took a summer job baking pies and muffins at a small country inn in Maine, which is where she discovered her true love was pastry.
In 1987, she moved to San Francisco’s Bay Area to open a tea and pastry café with a close friend. After one year, she moved on to a position as assistant pastry chef at San Francisco’s popular Kuleto Restaurant. The following year in 1989, she moved south to San Diego to become executive pastry chef of the Rancho Valencia Resort. But after a year, and homesick for San Francisco, she was recruited by hotelier Bill Kimpton to be the executive pastry chef of his new Postrio.
In 1994, the Great Chefs television crew showed up to tape Chef Rikala at the time, for the Discovery Channel’s Great Chefs – Great Cities series. In 1998, she left Postrio to get married and continue consulting. She opened many restaurants and launched the Sprinkles ice cream venture for the Sprinkles Cupcake owners, as well as consulting on the candy line at Williams Sonoma and at Aziza in San Francisco.
At present, after 35 years of professional baking, Chef Rikala is semi-retired and can most often be found on an ocean, river or mountain, enjoying her life.