Crystal was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and earned a communications degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. Upon graduation, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she became Press and Advance Advisor in the Office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi during her first speakership in the United States House of Representatives. After the political winds shifted in 2011, Crystal also shifted gears and decided to pursue a career in pastry.
After attending The French Pastry School in Chicago, Crystal moved to New York City and started as a pastry cook at Restaurant Daniel. Following her training in classic French technique, she sought to expand her culinary education and, for one year, staged across the Asia Pacific at several of its most notable restaurants, such as Room4Dessert in Bali, Indonesia, Narisawa in Japan, and Brae in Australia. In 2016, she returned to Bali to become the Chef de Cuisine under Pastry Chef Will Goldfarb at Room4Dessert. While in Indonesia, Crystal also created the Asli Food Project, embedding herself in villages across the archipelago to share a wider understanding of regional culinary traditions and ingredients. In the spring of 2019, Crystal joined Seattle's historic and beloved Canlis Restaurant as Pastry Chef.