For Chef Stephanie Petersen, or Chef Tess as she is known in the Valley, bread isn’t just a food. It’s an art form.

Her new book, “Bread Art: Decorating and Painting Edible Bread for Beginners,” is scheduled to come out April 8.

“I cover the basics, how to make bread with very simple ingredients and then how to make them very beautiful artisan breads like you see in Europe without being a professional baker,” Petersen explained. “I almost make it too simple. Bread has become this lost art. People think in order to make good bread you have to be a professional baker with years of training. You need four ingredients. Mix them. Leave it on your counter overnight. It’s simple.”

For those who are still weary of baking their own bread, Petersen said the book explains how to transform already baked breads you can purchase from a grocery store into beautiful artisan creations.

“It’s a crafty thing women can do — even those who don’t know how to make bread,” she said. “It’s fun.”

Petersen said when her kids were small she would practice making beautiful embellishments with Play-Doh while her kids were making monsters with their own. When she returned to work full time she realized it was a skill she could teach to others easily that they might enjoy and the idea has taken off from there.

Chef Tess is a classically-trained chef who became a healthy cooking expert on a tight budget when she made the decision to set aside her work and stay home with her young children. Years later she was hired as a corporate chef for Honeyville Farms. She continues to teach classes at the local Honeyville store, 33 S. 56th St. in Chandler, though she is now an independent chef.

Petersen will be hosting a book launching party at Char’s Kitchen Center, 1130 N. Gilbert Road, in Gilbert on Friday, April 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. The public is invited to come taste the recipes and get a signed copy of the book.

For more information on the new book, visit decorativebread.com. For more information on Petersen, visit www.cheftessbakeresse.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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