Meet the Team
Erica Bentson - Owner/Executive Pastry Chef
Erica brings over 25 years’ experience with her. From a young age, Erica was passionate about baking and cake decorating. She began by decorating cakes for friends and family in her teens. In April of 1993 she began her classical training at Western Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. Graduating in 1994, she then moved to Hawaii to begin her career at the Grand Wailea Resort as a pastry cook.
After honing her skills there for over a year, Erica then traveled the continent of Europe. While traveling abroad, she was privileged to attend Le Cordon Bleu's Patisserie program in London, England, graduating with Honors and an offer to stay and continue as an instructor’s assistant.
Upon her return to Portland, Erica was finally able to attain her dream of owning her own business. Finales-Fine Cakes & Desserts was born! Building upon her cake decorating skills, she quickly became one of Portland's preferred wedding cake vendors.
In May of 2019, Erica accepted the Pastry Chef position at the Facebook Data Center in Prineville, Oregon, making the move over the
mountains to Central Oregon. After a couple years there, Erica's restless spirit grew and she decided to make an even bigger move.
In April of 2022, she packed up everything and made her way to Arizona. Keeping in her family tradition of being an entrepreneur, Erica purchased Sue Jacobs Cakes in June of 2022 and, over the next year, transformed it into what is now, Whisk & Paddle Bakeshop. A finalist in Arizona Bride’s Best of 2023 in only its first year, Erica is excited to continue to grow and develop Whisk & Paddle into the best cakes and desserts that Arizona has to offer!
Riana Kaempen - Cake Mastermind/Assistant Pastry Chef
Riana has had a love of food for her entire life. She has always taken pride in the joy her creations have brought to friends and family. Helping in the kitchen since she was three, she decided to pursue a culinary career in the seventh grade. After attending the Technology Center of DuPage’s culinary program in high school, she continued her culinary education at Robert Morris University in Chicago with a Bachelor’s degree in Advanced Culinary Arts.
While there, she took the opportunity in 2018 to study abroad at the Florence University of the Arts in Florence, Italy for seven weeks, interning at the Fedora Pastry Shop. Her work at her internship earned her an invitation to participate on the school’s chocolate sculpture team, competing against professional chefs at the Campionati della Cucina Italiana 2019 International Competition. Their chocolate dragon sculpture won a bronze medal!
While in college, Riana fell in love with many styles of art and decided to combine her two
passions, art and food, in the form of cake decorating. She attended The French Pastry School
in Chicago in 2019, studying under several renowned chefs, and earned the L’Art du Gâteau Certification for cake decorating.
After several more years in the culinary field, she moved herself and her two cats across the country to Arizona, where she found Whisk & Paddle. Riana is excited to be a part of a business that values using high quality ingredients, takes pride in putting out beautiful products, and has the same passion that she does for cakes and pastries.