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.
She 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 4 times, Halloween Wars and Cake wars, winning all but one, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern, as well as designing set pieces for "Sugar Dome" . She has also appeared on her own show, called "Caketastrophe" on Food Network. Her work can be seen in National Geographic's "Strange But True", Wild Art by Phaedon Press, as well as various publications and websites worldwide. Her client list includes Sir Elton John, Jane Fonda, Usher, Jane Lynch, T-Pain, Demi Moore, Andrew Young, Kasim Reed, Kate's Club, AMC's The Walking Dead, The Cartoon Network, Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Turner Broadcasting, CNN, The Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, The Atlanta Opera, Georgia Public Broadcasting, The Center for Puppetry Arts, The W Hotel, and Westin Hotels.
Karen spends much of her time teaching Cake Art internationally, and has taught in more than 23 countries, with new locations added every year. Teaching has become a passion, and she travels quite frequently to give classes, demonstrations, or to make appearances at events.