By H. Penn
After 17-year-old Kennedy Harper suffered a concussion in a bus accident, as part of her healing, doctors advised her to find an activity such as sewing, crafting or cooking to pass time and aid her rehabilitation. Five months in, she sought exercise over heavy medication and began watching the Food Network, which conjured up memories of her grandmother, former head chef at the Grand Finale restaurant. Kennedy discovered a compilation of recipes written by her late grandmother, which inspired her to cook for her siblings.
Kennedy began making chocolate-dipped marshmallows, covered with cookies, candies or coconut; and they were a hit with everyone who sampled the sweet delights. Her parents, former restaurateurs, negotiated an arrangement with Raymond’s Pizza in Mason, who agreed to sell her dipped delicacies; leading the way to her success in creating confections. The gourmet marshmallows served as the origin of her business, Harper House of Sweets.
Kennedy, an excellent student at Mason High School, played the violin, learned German, excelled in physics and was taking college credit classes. She was discouraged by teachers to switch over to a vocational school, where she could pursue her interest in the culinary arts.
But after marketing her desserts at fairs, parties and festivals, she soon entered Scarlet Oaks Career Center (SOCC), Culinary Arts Program as a teen entrepreneur. With guidance from her parents, Kennedy learned to adjust to a more diverse group of peers and inter-cultural differences, but through it all, the blessings flowed.
Her lab teacher was impressed by her talent resulting in an invitation to a Chef’s Association dinner, which led to wholesale pricing and other opportunities for her home-based enterprise. Kennedy applied to nearly every business school in Ohio and was accepted. As a senior of independent study at SOCC, she needed certification, and longed to attend the prestigious E’Cole Chocolat in Belgium, that sets the standard for chocolate makers and master chefs. She soon discovered their online courses and expensive tuition.
To her surprise, SOCC awarded Kennedy a scholarship, making her the first student to ever receive this honor. She also obtained a cottage license that covers sanitation and rules of the trade, allowing her to move forward in preparing un-cooked, non-perishable truffle confections.
In May 2019 she will be a fully certified chocolatier with a chef’s license.
To increase placement of her products in larger markets, SOCC has allowed Kennedy to use their safe-serve kitchen and bakery, which has been reviewed by representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This unprecedented offer will soon be the catalyst for student incubator services.
Kennedy Harper is a teen trailblazer who overcame a medical obstacle and is now paving the way for young people to hone their talent and follow their dreams for the sweetest moments in life.
To order gourmet treats for your party, wedding or event, email: HarperHouseofsweets@gmail.com or call 513 568-7003.