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Karen Portaleo is a cake and chocolate artist living in Atlanta, GA.
Before jumping in to the culinary world, she created props and sets for advertising, with a client list that includes Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Target, Maybelline, and Nestle Chocolate. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, and was represented by Ferrin Gallery, where she was able to show her clay work amongst her idols in the art world.
Karen grew up in bakeries in south Florida, where her grandfather was a pastry chef. Combining this history with her background in art has been a seamless although unexpected evolution.
She has appeared on Food Network’s Cake Challenge four times, Halloween Wars, and Cake Wars, winning all but one, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, as well as designing set pieces for “Sugar Dome.” Her work can be seen in National Geographic‘s “Strange But True,” Wild Art by Phaidon Press, as well as various publications and websites worldwide. Her client list includes Sir Elton John, Usher, Jane Lynch, T-Pain, Demi Moore, Andrew Young, Kasim Reed, AMC’s The Walking Dead, The Cartoon Network, Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Turner Broadcasting, CNN, The Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, The Atlanta Opera, The W Hotel, and Westin Hotels.
Karen is currently enjoying her newfound teaching career, with classes on cake sculpting and modeling chocolate that have taken her to Hong Kong, Australia, The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland, New Zealand, Mexico and Canada, and has dates upcoming in Bangkok, Istanbul and France.