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Entries in batter chatter (100)

Wednesday
Jun102009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Nadia G of Bitchin' Lifestyle

Chocolate Souffle c/o Bitchin Lifestyle

If you have never come across Nadia G, the tour de force behind Bitchin' Lifestyle, a food, decor and lifestyle site including an addictive web tv show, funny blogs and awesome recipes, brace yourself. She's outspoken, she's smart as a whip, and she can even make a fine chocolate soufflé. But what is she like when she's not developing a new show for Food Network Canada or producing one of her searingly funny web-isodes? Recently Head Spy Jessie had a phone interview with her to find out:

CakeSpy: I’m not very cool. What can I do to make my life a little more bitchin’, quickly?
Nadia G: It’s all about attitude. It’s about knowing what you want and going after it, saying what you feel…while having a sense of humor about yourself, so that you’re able to laugh at yourself and not take yourself too seriously. And if you can’t do any of these things, just get yourself some leopard or zebra print.

 

CS: How did you get started with Bitchin' Lifestyle?
NG: I’ve done sketch comedy on the web since 2002; but I grew up in an Italian family, and of course everyone was super food-obessed, as was I--and so after I spent years doing this comedy online, I realized that there was something missing, and that thing was food. So I made up this concept where I could make fun of my cake and eat it too. It combines the best of both worlds: the comedy and the cooking.

CS: How did Bitchin' Kitchen evolve into Bitchin' Lifestyle?
NG: It all started with Bitchin' Kitchen. Everyone was being pastel-polite, and just regurgitating the same kind of stuff, and nobody really had an attitude about it, so we brought some fierce female attitude into the kitchen, and then we realized we might as well bring that attitude into other aspects of lifestyle like DIY décor, because nobody wants to paint their walls beige or decorate in sushi restaurant styles from 2002…it’s all about having fun with it and not taking things too seriously.

Black heart cookies
CS: So are you giving Martha Stewart a run for her money?
NG: Yes! I think so. I have a lot of respect for Martha Stewart—she legitimized homemaking for a generation, but when it comes to the next generation, they’re not really looking to fold napkins into swans or color-code their linen closets, so this is where Bitchin' Kitchen comes in—it’s relevant to a new generation of women and men who are interested in lifestyle but don’t want to be put to sleep while getting their information.

Nadia G's book
CS: You recently came out with a book. How will it change someone’s life if they buy it?
NG: Well, it will give them a great mix of comedy and cooking. There’s lots of Nad-vice—that’s what we call it—on various subjects, everything from breaking up to gold-digging to rehab recipes; it gives my take on all of these subjects...and it’s a funny relief for a lot of people to get this kooky perspective on different types of life situations. When it comes to food, a lot of people think that making a soufflé is the hardest thing in the world, but frankly it’s one of the easiest things. So you learn how to make good food presented in an easy way. We have a great newbie section for someone who has never cooked before--we teach you how to stock a fridge, what equipment you need to get started...so it’s good for the first timer, and also we have a fun glossary including Italian slang we use in the show. So, you learn about life, you learn how to speak Italian, and you also learn how to cook some tasty simple meals.

CS: So basically, you can’t afford not to buy it.
NG: Pretty much. It’s pretty cheap too, and it’s great too for a daughter or a family member going off to college, especially because of that Newbie section.

CS: Your Bag 'Em Tag 'Em French Toast appears to be the perfect dish to entice someone romantically. But how do you get rid of them once you've hooked them?
NG: Then you have to go to Splitsville Salad. I call it the Last Supper, and it ain’t the King James version. It will teach you how to get rid of them once you’ve locked ‘em in.

CS: Cake Versus Pie: Who is going to win this fight?
NG: Pie has got this liquid power and could blind you with the juicy fruit that’s going on inside, but I think that cake is the more solid one. But then again, if the cake gets too soggy because of the pie juice…then the cake’s going to fall apart and can’t fight anymore. Actually, I take it back, maybe the pie’s going to win.

CS: You have a new show that's going to be on the Food Network! Tell me more!
NG: We’re so excited to go from net to network., The TV show is 22 minutes (a half hour show minus commercials). It’s going to be on Food Network Canada; we’re launching spring 2010. I start writing this summer and we have post production this fall, and it’s going to be the same deal and themes: lifestyle, great recipes, and we’ll be able to focus a little more on the food, and also add some new elements like the sketch comedy I used to do.

CS: Every one of the contributors on your site appears to be very attractive. So--is everyone who works with you a serious hottie?
NG: Yes, you know, they really are! We’re pretty much an almost all female crew, and it’s really fun. Maybe that is part of the interview process—you have to really be bitchin’.

CS: What are your favorite desserts?
NG: The chocolate soufflé (shown top) is definitely a favorite, warm and gooey inside, another great one is a raspberry-chili parfait, raspberry coulis mixed with fresh chili peppers, whipped cream and salted nuts; and millefeuilles, sfogliatelle and zeppole San Giuseppe. I love dessert. Even after breakfast, I eat dessert. So much dessert. Dessert for the dessert.

Bonus! Nadia also shared her chocolate souffle recipe! Here it is:

Spicy Chocolate Soufflé with Fleur de Sel

  • 8 ounces Fine dark chocolate
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1/4 ounces Brown sugar
  • 1/8 Cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 Cream of tartar
  • 1/8 teaspoons Butter (Unsalted)
  • 1/8 teaspoons Granulated sugar
  • 1/8 Fleur de sel

Chocolate
Melt chopped, dark chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. (If you don’t have a double boiler: add 1 inch of water to the bottom of a saucepan. Bring to a simmer on medium-low heat. Place a thick plastic bowl over the top and dump the chocolate into the bowl.) Once all the chocolate has been melted, set aside and cool for 10 minutes.

 

Egg Yolk Mixture
In a small bowl add 3 egg yolks at room temperature (reserve the whites), brown sugar, and a big pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk thoroughly.

Meringue
Pour 6 egg whites into a big mixing bowl. Add a small pinch of cream of tartar (if you don’t have cream of tartar, you can use a few drops of white vinegar). Whop with a mixer until stiff peaks form. You’ve now made the meringue, set aside.

Putting it Together
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Transfer the yolk mixture to a large mixing owl. Add 1 tablespoon of the melted chocolate and stir. Repeat this process for the rest of the chocolate. (If you dump in all the melted chocolate at once, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs.) Slowly fold in the meringue, being careful not to over mix. Fold about ten times (the texture of the mixture should look a little scary and spotted with meringue bits, this is what makes the soufflé light). Butter 3 ramekins, dust with sugar, and tap off the excess. Pour the chocolate mix into the ramekins, leaving a ¼ inch at the top of each ramekin. Bake for 16 minutes, not a minute more.

Skiaffing it Together
Sprinkle the soufflés with fleur de sel and serve immediately. Soufflés fall fast.

------------------------------

 

 

Want more? Find all of the awesomeness that is Nadia G. and her crew at bitchinlifestyle.tv; for recipes, click right through here. To buy the book, click here.

 

Wednesday
Jun102009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Stephanie of Cake Fixation, Redmond WA

Sushi cake
When Stephanie Campbell emailed to tell us about her cool custom cake business, Cake Fixation, based in Redmond, we knew an interview was in order. Not only does the business name speak clearly to us, but the cakes are stunning, from delicately decorated cupcakes to gorgeous trompe l'oeil confections resembling everything from stuffed animals to sushi (above). Here's a summation of some sweet talk with Stephanie:

CakeSpy: Tell us about your cake fixation. How did it lead to starting a business?
Stephanie Campbell: Being born in and spending most of my life in Dallas, TX my fixation with sugar art didn’t start out with cakes. I was originally drawn into decorating when I made a gingerbread house for a local competition. I ended up taking 2nd place and made it my goal to win the following year.

In preparing for the next gingerbread competition I discovered a local cake decorating supply store where I noticed an upcoming “Raggedy Ann Cake” course being taught by Bronwen Weber. I registered and took the class and have been hooked on cake decorating ever since.
When my husband took a new position within his company and was relocated to Redmond, WA I focused my attention on turning my fixation into a business.

Goddard Graduation
CS: You specialize in custom cakes, but not wedding cakes. Why not?
SC: In addition to my cake decorating duties I am a proud mother of three beautiful children – two of which are toddler twins. Due to family obligations I keep a tight limit on the number of weekly cake orders I accept. Once the twins have graduated to elementary school I plan on expanded my business to include wedding cakes.

CS: What is the most important aspect in making a great cake?
SC: The popularity of cake decorating TV shows has raised the bar in terms of what people want in a decorated cake. Instead of buttercream cakes with roses, customers want 3D sculpted cakes and funky tiered cakes. The most important aspect of making a great cake is recreating the mental vision the customer is looking for, whether that vision is a cake that looks like a sushi board or a baseball cap.

CS: Do you feel as if baking professionally has changed your attitude toward dessert? If so, how?
SC: Professional baking hasn’t changed my attitude specifically towards desserts but it has changed my attitude in how I view everyday items. I now find myself always thinking of how I can turn something into cake. I will often wonder what would this look like as a sculpted cake or how would I recreate that out of fondant?

CS: How would you describe the dessert scene in Redmond?
SC: Having lived in Redmond for just about a year now I can’t profess to being an area dessert scene expert. However, it does seem that the local (Seattle and the Eastside) cupcake competition is very high while the selection of custom cake bakeries is a little thinner.

CS: How would you rate the popularity of cupcakes vs. whole cakes right now?
SC: Cupcakes are definitely the “in thing” right now and customer demand has forced me to include them in my own repertoire. I do find that cupcakes are usually ordered to compliment an over the top cake centerpiece, instead of on their own. Whether cupcakes will continue to be a high demand item or are just a passing fad I do not know, for now I am enjoying the dreamy goodness of my own southern red velvet cupcake recipe.

Madagascar wm
CS: What has you excited right now?
SC: The idea of expanding my business to the volume that would warrant investing in a fondant sheeter has me giddy. As my hands and wrists scream out in pain after a long day of manipulating fondant I dream of my shining metal savior pressing fondant sheets to perfection.

Want more? If you're ready to schedule a consulation, visit cakefixation.com.

Thursday
Apr022009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Carrie of Bella Cupcake Couture

Bella Cupcake Couture Interview
In recent years, cupcakes have gone from being simply small cakes to flat-out cultural phenomenon. It seems that a new cupcake shop is opening just about every hour on the hour, and the obsession has spawned not only bakeries but a number of businesses which cater to the cupcake lover (including, um, this website). One natural progression is cupcake accessories--such as the sweet, textile-inspired cupcake wrappers made by local startup Bella Cupcake Couture. We recently got a chance to talk cake with proprietress Carrie Middlemiss--let's learn a bit more about her business and thoughts on the compelling little cakes and their place in culture, shall we?

CakeSpy: Let's start with the basics. Who are you and what is your company / product?
Carrie Middlemiss: I am the owner of Bella Cupcake Couture. We make textile-inspired cupcake wrappers printed with soy inks on recycled paper. Our theme is “Have your cupcake and adore it too.™” Each wrapper has boutique-style design to add a touch of sophistication and elegance to your cupcake for any special occasion; weddings, bridal and baby showers, birthdays, holidays and just because.

CS: What initially attracted you to the cupcake community?
CM: Originally I didn’t realize what an enormous community there was for cupcakes. I had just always loved baking and hadn’t done a lot of internet surfing about it. However, in 2008 when I was inspired at a small business seminar (CRAVEbusiness) I knew online research was important. I became seriously addicted to reading about cupcakes day and night. I came across tons of websites and blogs all dedicated to cupcakes. I read about cupcake tastings, cupcake meet ups, cupcake shops and thought “what a neat group of people!”.
On my next vacation to our friends in Austin I read on Cupcakes Take the Cake blog that a new cupcake shop was opening, so I started to plan my own cupcake tasting tour there. It was soooo much fun! As I went around I also asked each owner what innovation would they like to see invented for the cupcake community. It was all very enlightening.
CS: When we first crossed paths last year, you were thinking about starting a business that had to do with cupcakes, and now here you are with a product and webstore! Can you tell us a bit about how you went from "what should I do" to "I'm gonna do it"?
CM: Yes, back in August I was trying to determine what the product should be. I had a couple strong ideas and the importance to me was it needed to be unique, innovative and a stylish decoration for cupcakes. I wanted it to be something a home baker, cupcake shop owner, bride or mother-to-be or an event planner would find easy and chic enough to use for extra special events.
A month later, my company (a large bank in Washington state) I worked for since high school was bought by another bank. It was a very difficult time for so many of us. Many of us were unsure if we would have jobs and what would come next.
For me, I saw this as the ultimate motivation to get my business started. So I quickly put together strategies for next steps, continued researching day and night and reached out to several in the cupcake community and other women-owned business leaders for advice. I moved as fast as I could on my ideas. Now I have my business up and running as well and I’m loving it!

CS: You're transitioning to the role of small business owner from a role as an employee in a large corporation. What are some of the up and down-sides to this transition?
CM: Since I’m still working for the bank, I know some of my answers may be different in a few months.

Up-sides:
• Creative free-reign
• Ability to incorporate all my passions and strengths into one role.
• Although I work for a large corporation, I work out a relatively small office. So I don’t feel that change will be much of a shift for me; except a darling dog (Baxter, our 4 yr old Yorkie-Maltese) will be allowed in the office.

Down-sides:
• The not knowing of how successful the product will be.
• The long hours which come with running your own business. However when you love doing something you are passionate about, how can you call that work?

CS: What made you decide to settle on cupcake wrappers as your first product?
CM: Many who know me, know I LOVE to think outside the box and come up with new ideas. When tossing around cupcake product ideas, I kept coming back to developing something for that would provide more of a chic look than the cupcake liners they were baked in. Every time I would look at photos of cupcakes, I always envisioned beautiful boutique-style designs around them.

CS: How do people typically use the cupcake wrappers? As a decorative touch for party cupcakes? For presenting them at bakeries? Etc?
CM: A decorative touch for all occasions and to accentuate the décor theme of celebrations. They create a great presentation for a dessert table, cupcake stand or simply as a delicate little favor in a box tied up with a pretty bow. It’s also a great hostess gift for a housewarming; include a favorite cupcake recipe, sanding sugars, sprinkles and these special cupcake wrappers. They are fun, easy and fashionable.

CS: Do you have plans to add other cupcake or baked good accessories to your offerings?
CM: I will be selling 3” x 3” clear boxes to provide a nice presentation of the wrapped cupcakes, new colored cupcake liners for baking in and always keeping ideas open to continue to grow the product line.

CS: In the Seattle area, we've got a wealth of awesome cupcake shops. Which one--and what flavor--do you favor?
CM: Oh this is a very tough one. There are a few shops I haven’t tried yet that I still need to get to. There are three I frequent the most and here is my favorite from each:
New York Cupcakes in Crossroads: Tie between Back in the Day Butterscotch and Candy Store Salted Caramel
Trophy Cupcakes: Red Velvet with cream cheese frosting
Cupcake Royale: Salted Caramel

CS: Where can we buy your products retail? How about wholesale?
CM: Bella Cupcake Couture wrappers can be purchased retail from our website at bellacupcakecouture.com and also now sold at a fabulous boutique near University Village called Curtsy Bella as well as at New York Cupcakes in Bellevue.
For those interested in wholesale, they can visit our website for details or email wholesale@bellacupcakecouture.com for special pricing.

CS: What's next?
CM: I definitely have to thank everyone who provided support, feedback and inspiration to me while beginning this new venture. Including you! ;)

Also I have a few new cupcake wrappers designs I’m really interested in launching later this year. Right now though, I’m focused on fulfilling orders, providing great customer service and collecting feedback on what designs people would like to see.

Ready to suit up your cupcakes with the cutest wrappers around? Visit bellacupcakecouture.com.

Tuesday
Mar242009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Erik of Pie in the Sky

Pie in the Sky interview
Woods Hole, Massachusetts is an interesting little town, home to a well-known biological laboratory, the port from which ferries depart to that rich-kid playground called Martha's Vineyard...and possibly most importantly, home to a little bakery called Pie in the Sky. Owner Erik Gura has been baking from the same location for over 20 years--with that type of expertise, when he talks, you listen. We recently caught up with Erik and got to address many important aspects of living the sweet life in a tourist town, as well as gaining some insight on that strange New England phenomenon of apple pie with cheese; here's what we learned:


Pie in the Sky
CakeSpy: Why Pie? 
Erik Gura: She spoke to me. She told me she wanted to be the vehicle for our culinary expressions & I believed her. Some days I feel like the good bus driver, carefully making all the stops, smiling faces everywhere. Some days I try to stop the runaway bus, usually with mixed results….either way. I get excited to fire up every morning & go for that ride.

 

Pie in the Sky, Woods Hole MA
CS: You're located close to the ferry to Martha's Vineyard. What do you think is the best pie to take on ferry rides?
EG: One from Pie in the Sky, of course! Blueberry’s my pick, despite the potential for ruining lightly colored summer clothes.

Pie in the Sky, Woods Hole MAPie in the Sky, Woods Hole MA

CS: Do you notice a difference in baked good preference between locals and tourists?
EG: Locals praise value & consistency in all areas of Pie. They like little things, day in & day out. Tourists tend to buy like they are embarking on a 6 week sea voyage. …Do you have any Popovers? “Yes” OK… “How many would you like?” Oh, …all of them…

CS: What is the most important aspect of making a great pie?
EG: There is no one critical aspect to a good Pie. Rather, it is the physical manifestation of careful years of training & practice, coupled with a disciplined execution of each & every small detail in the process that comes from the heart and hands of a passionate baker. Oh, and keep both your fat & your water COLD. & don’t over mix!

CS: I've been told that since I love cream pies better than fruit pies, I'm not a "true" pie connoisseur. What are your thoughts on this important issue?
EG: My mom says there’s no accounting for taste….I use that one a lot…

Apple pie and cheese: Better together!
CS: Can you shed any light on the phenomenon of cheese on apple pie for us?
EG: Back where my Great Grandfather was born, in the St. Lawrence River valley, there were a lot of both cows & apples. The way my Grandma told it, it was only a matter of time before they got together. My family has New England roots that span back 300 years & to the best of my knowledge, everyone for generations enjoyed the combo, especially for breakfast. Portable, delicious, & packed with enough goodness to get you through till lunch…Ideally you’d get it warmed before you left the house, wrapped in waxed paper for snacking a bit later…works best with day old pie…

Pie in the Sky, Woods Hole MA
CS: You also offer some breakfast items, but we're curious: what's the difference between a popover and brioche?
EG: Volume. With Brioche, you add flour to butter until you can bake it. If you add too much flour, you create something with the consistency of a baseball. With Popovers, you whip up a thin batter & then bake it in a hot oven so it blows up like a balloon. Not enough heat or whipping and you create something with the consistency of a baseball.

CS: Be honest...if someone came into your cafe and said they were on a low-carb diet, what would happen?
EG: We encounter all sorts of dietary constraints on a daily basis…We do the very best with what we have to offer & sometimes there’s just no makin’ it…I’ve noticed some folks actually just want to talk to a real live baker. Like all specialized diets, the low carb thing is a challenge. I suggest sharing…after all, it’s healthy food for an active lifestyle.. Did I mention we stock Sprite Zero…and Diet Dr. Pepper…and Tab…??

Pie in the Sky, Woods Hole MA
CS: Since we can't be in Woods Hole at the moment to taste it at the moment, can you please describe the glory that is your bread pudding?
EG: Our Bread Pudding with Black Rum Hard Sauce is about 16 ounces of hot, rum and butter soaked- goodness that is only improved with a slathering of real whipped cream – or -- vanilla ice cream, dealer’s choice…also good for sharing…there’s a good visual on the website…It will burn if you put a spark to it….not for kids…

Pie in the Sky, Woods Hole MA
CS: What do you see as the emerging trends in the world of baked goods / desserts?
EG: I think there is currently a growing appreciation in this country for artisan quality locally fresh created food of all types. A bit of a run on sentence. I know, but I’m a baker, strong like bull, smart like tractor.

CS: What's next for Pie in the Sky?
EG: Naptime! All bakers enjoy a good napperoo…..that, and a second story on my tiny building…and a roast beef sandwich on toasted white bread with extra extra mayo, pickles, onions, & tomatoes & a little fresh ground pepper…hopefully more correspondence with the Cakespy crew…it’s kinda an open-ended question…

Hungry for more? For further insight & additional goodness, check out the Pie in the Sky website at www.woodshole.com/pie--make sure to keep up to date with the “Pie in the News” tab. 

 

 

Monday
Mar022009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Cherie of Galaxy Cupcakes, TX

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
At one time, the idea of opening a cupcake-centric business was unheard of; today, the country boasts hundreds of thriving shops. While for a time it seemed that the trend was generally confined to major cities, it seems like the sweet little cakes have indeed begun to take over the world, with charming shops opening up in suburban and even country areas. Recently we caught up with Cherie Gilbert, proprietress of Galaxy Cupcakes, a cupcake shop outside of Austin, TX; we were able to talk about the sweet treats, how they've gone over in a less urban area, and discuss the finer points of cake vs. muffin texture:


CakeSpy: A lot of cupcake businesses have opened in the past several years, but the story about how yours came about is a little different. Could you share it with us?
Cherie Gilbert: I was an interior designer before opening the shop. My 15 year old daughter had a brain tumor when she was four which went away, but two years ago we found out she had another one. Due to her treatment it was hard for me to work with design customers when she didn't feel well as it required a lot of time out and about. I rented a kitchen and started making cupcakes and doing deliveries to supplement my income the beginning of last year. I had so many people asking for a store so they could see them or just get 1 or 2. My husband and I thought it would be a good ideal to open a store and have a space in the backroom where Nikki, my daughter could stay if she didn't feel well. So we started looking for a spot, found one right away, and opened the end of August. Started out slowly by word of mouth and haven't stopped growing yet. We are reinventing the wheel daily and I am loving very minute of it.

 

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O CherieGalaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
CS: How has your life changed since you opened Galaxy Cupcakes?
CG: It has been crazy busy! I thrive on it though and I am really enjoying it. It is not always easy and it becomes your life. I couldn't do it with out my husband though. He pitches in a lot. If he is not doing dishes for me on the weekends, he is grocery shopping for home or doing the laundry at home so I don't have to. If I didn't have his 100% support, I wouldn't make it.

CS: The cupcake trend seems to have started and caught on in mostly urban areas and cities, but you're in a more suburban area north of Austin. How did residents react to the opening of a cupcake business in your area? 

CG: Oh, they loved it! They are so glad they can get something fun and funky without having to drive into Austin.

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O CherieGalaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
CS: The economy is worrying everyone, yet cupcakes seem to be getting even more popular. Would you say that cupcakes are "recession-proof"? 
CG: I don't know if anything is recession-proof, but I do know that during hard times people need a pick me up every now and again. Cupcakes are great for cheering us up, they make us feel happy. People aren't going out and buying a new sofa right now, but a $2.50 cupcake is not going to break the bank.

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
CS: You mention that you're thinking of offering muffins in the future. Tell us: what exactly is the difference between cupcakes and muffins?
CG: Muffins are more of a quick bread and a little denser, where cupcakes are a cake and a little fluffier. Muffins are not frosted and can have a crumb, nut, or oat topping. Also muffins tend to be less sweet than a cupcake. Muffins are mainly served for breakfast or brunch and cupcakes are usually not served before lunch.

CS: What's your most popular flavor?
CG: That would be our Eclipse (Jack & Coke). It is a chocolate cake made with coke instead of milk and topped with cream cheese and bourbon icing. It's funny because I am not a big bourbon fan, but the mixture of the bourbon and cream cheese is to die for!

 

CS: Your flavors are incredibly creative! We just imagine you having cocktail parties and inventing them. But tell us--how does the process of inventing a flavor really happen?
CS: Well, I started out making my favorite fruity drink, Strawberry Daiquiri, and loved it; so I came up with other drinks I like, Bellini and Cosmo. I decided I'd better have something for all the men out there, not just my girlie drinks, and came up with the Jack & Coke and Bailey's & Cream. The trick is getting just enough alcohol for flavor with out making the dough too runny where it will collapse when cooled.

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
CS: How is your background of interior design reflected in your retail space?
CG: I have always preferred modern design. My husband and I liked mid-century modern design way before it was the in thing. We live in a 1962 modern ranch home, completely original and decorated to period with Danish modern furniture. We wanted a 1960s swank bachelor pad/googie feel. We wanted it to feel like you had walked into a lounge in Las Vegas when the Rat Pack Ruled the Day. We used pink, lime green, and black as the color scheme. I wanted to use as much black as possible so it wouldn't be too frilly for the men, and I get more comments on the design from men than women.

CS: You mentioned getting a lot of requests for pie. Do you ever think pie will eclipse cupcakes as the hot-ticket dessert item?
CG: Only at Thanksgiving!

Galaxy Cupcakes, Georgetown TX; Photos C/O Cherie
CS: What's next for Galaxy Cupcakes?
CG: Who knows -- maybe someday we'll have locations throughout the entire Galaxy!

Galaxy Cupcakes is located at 1501 Park Lane, #105, Georgetown, TX; to see their photos, check out their flickr page; or more information, visit galaxycupcakes.com.

 

Monday
Feb022009

Batter Chatter: Interview with Chelsea of Kingdom Cake

Kingdom Cake
It's true: cupcake businesses keep on opening...and we keep loving them. Especially when they have awesome names, as in the case of the Bay Area based custom-order cupcakery Kingdom Cake. Of course, a creative menu doesn't hurt--in addition to the usual chocolate and vanilla suspects, theirs also has more adventurous choices like Thai Tea, Pancakes and Bacon and Orange Nutella, plus vegan options--and, curiously enough, a few savories too. We recently caught up with proprietress Chelsea Mead--read on to learn her thoughts on the dark and light sides of cake:

 Cakespy: Where did you get the idea to start Kingdom Cake?
Chelsea Mead: The short answer is: everyone loves cupcakes. They sell themselves. I love watching how happy people get when cupcakes arrive to their occasion, or when they take their first bite. I am in the business of making people happy, and that makes me smile. It never gets old. The realization that I could start a business with cupcakes came after several requests for special orders from friends and coworkers. I started thinking of one fun flavor after another and it slowly became an addiction to perfect more and more recipes. I truly look at it as an art form. Designing new cupcakes makes my heart beat faster. I'd always rather be in the kitchen.
Photo c/o Kingdom CakePhoto c/o Kingdom Cake
CS: Be honest. If we order from Kingdom Cake, will our order be delivered by a knight in shining armor?
CM: Hilarious! I would just love that...I think my customers would adore the dedication to the "Kingdom" theme! Until I can round up all my Knights and purchase a charming carriage with horses, I will be doing most deliveries myself (how boring after all that!).

 

Photo c/o Kingdom Cake
CS: What makes cupcakes so special to you?
CM: How much time do you have? You see, I am into all things art. I am a woman with way too many hobbies. I love to paint and mosaic mostly. I have an art room overflowing with all sorts of unfinished projects. I am so busy moving on to the next thing it's hard to stop and finish a piece of work (especially when I'm juggling the cupcakes). When I started baking, I approached each flavor and each cupcake as an art form. What can I do to make this cupcake look the most fabulous? Making a cupcake look "cute" doesnt always do it for me, the design and placement of toppers really makes it right. Next comes the photo shoot. After the cupcakes are looking divine, then I get to use my fun Sony Cybershot and take really cool photos (my new favorite is a concept is cupcake shadows/silhouettes). Then to top it all off, I get to watch people completely indulge and go into their happy place when it's time to eat. It's the ultimate creative outlet.

CS: We see that you have a flavor called "pancakes and bacon". Can you elaborate a bit about what makes up this cupcake?
CM: The pancakes and bacon theme seems to be pretty popular nowadays so I am looking to redirect the concept of this cupcake. Currently the cupcake is a simple pancake base, with maple frosting, bacon toppers, and a salty maple filling. This is a great cupcake for breakfast (although all cupcakes are suitable for breakfast if you ask me). I am working on a french toast cupcake that I might combine with this, to make more of a "breakfast" theme.
Photo c/o Kingdom Cake
CS: We notice some savory options on your menu. Do you see savory cupcakes as a new and thriving branch of the cupcake phenomenon?
CM: Absolutely. In this cupcake-obsessed world we live in, we are constantly being challenged to do the next coolest thing. The natural progression has lead us to savory cupcakes. People in the business are aware of all of this, then I talk to some of my friends and they aren't even aware that cupcakes are taking over the world! I try mentioning ingredients to them like: bacon, basil, or chili and they say WTF? Keeping up with the trends is part of any business. I am lucky I'm in a business where this just makes it all more fun.

CS: What is your favorite type of cake?
CM: Currently it's a tie between Thai Tea and Basil Lemon Blueberry. Thai Tea frosting is like crack.

Photo c/o Kingdom Cake
CS: Which term do you use: Icing or frosting?
CM: FROSTING, all the way.

CS: Imagine this: you walk in on a loved eating a mass-produced prepackaged cupcake. What do you say to them?
CM: "(SIGH) I am so disappointed."

Photo c/o Kingdom CakePhoto c/o Kingdom Cake
CS: What is next for Kingdom Cake?
CM: My next business venture is vending at the local Bay Area Farmers Markets. Right now I am in the approval process, you should see me popping up slowly in the next month or so. The ultimate goal for Kingdom Cake this year is to open a storefront in the Bay Area. I am also looking into the Seattle Farmers Markets, however this will take a bit more time to work out. I lived in Seattle for 5 years and I look forward to branching out there.

 

Want More? Visit Kingdomcake.com. Even if you're not in the Bay Area though, you can enjoy their cupcakes via Flickr!

Friday
Dec192008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Amanda of Wish-Cake

Wish-Cake 

 Generally, we associate food delivery with gastronomic treats of the savory, often greasy, persuasion: pizza or Chinese takeaway. However, a Philadelphia-based cupcake maker Amanda Schirk is challenging everything we thought we knew about takeaway, with Wish-Cake, a cupcake delivery service. Though started with children's parties in mind, the business has quickly grown with requests for "care package" cupcakes to be delivered to college students, as well as sweet delivieries to businesses and corporate clients. What can we say, everyone loves a cupcake. Here's what we learned during an interview with Amanda:

Vanilla Cake Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
Cakespy: How did you come up with the idea for Wish-Cake?
Amanda Schirk: The original idea for Wish-Cake was created from a conversation between my mom and I. We started talking about cupcakes and my love for baking them. Many of the parents we knew were too busy or didn't have the opportunity to make cupcakes for their child's birthday celebration at school. So, for the launch of wish-cake.com, my goal was to help those busy parents by baking fresh, beautiful cupcakes and delivering them right to their child's school. I never expected the number of requests for cupcake deliveries to colleges and business offices, to grown children from their Moms or friends. I guess, you're never too old for cupcakes!

 

CS: Why did you decide to focus on cupcakes only with your delivery business?
AS: Cupcakes are my favorite thing to bake! They're cute and tasty and most people have a hard time saying "no" to them. Each one is a small cakewith different frosting and decorating potential. I like the potential each cupcake holds as well as seeing the faces of those folks who receive them. They're fun to bake and fun to deliver!
Eggnog Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-CakeWorm-and-Dirt Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: What is your favorite part about running Wish-Cake?
AS: There are so many wonderful things about running a cupcake business, and I appreciate the variety in running the business. If I had to pick one thing, I would say that it is definitely the amount of joy the cupcakes bring to the recipient upon delivery. I find it amazing to see children, men and women light up when they receive them. Seeing their faces makes the job worthwhile, and makes it more rewarding. I enjoy the fact that Wish-Cake gives me the opportunity to express my creativity in different ways, and it's nice to have different kinds of outlets for that creativity such as the things that have been done to make our web site, the pictures and all the things go along with our cupcakes.

CS: What are some of the most challenging parts about running Wish-Cake?
AS: There are so many complex tasks in running a business. I had to go through a lot of steps in order to plan and launch the business. I found I had to deal with more technology and red-tape than I expected when I first started. There have been times when I wished I could just bake cupcakes instead of having to do paperwork. It wasn't easy, and my life has been changed completely by choosing to run my own business, but I wouldn't change a thing. I'm very glad we stuck with everything. Wish-Cake has been a great opportunity.

Pumpkin Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: How did you decide on / narrow down your menu choices?
AS: It was hard! However, the menu was created with children in mind. Kids are some of the most diverse people on the planet, however, when it comes to cupcakes most want chocolate or vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream or vanilla buttercream frosting. (Very basic!) Of course we've had several requests for more complex cupcakes for children too. I wanted to offer a variety of choices so everyone could be happy. Before wish-cake.com launched I baked some of my mom's cake recipes to make sure they were conducive to cupcake baking. After gathering facts I decided on offering more variety that vanilla and chocolate, however, I didn't want to offer gourmet cupcakes. (like those with lavender cake). That's not what wish-cake.com is about. Our website allows personal cupcake customization by the customer. We also created some possible cupcake combinations that would help people understand the process. Those are the cupcakes that have photos on the site. Both ways to create cupcakes (build your own or suggesed flavor with photo on the site) have been very popular.
Vanilla-Vanilla, photo c/o Wish-CakeChocolate frosted Vanilla Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: What's your personal favorite flavor on the menu?
AS: That's too hard - I can't pick! If I ABSOLUTELY had to choose a favorite it would be banana with chocolate chips mixed in and vanilla buttercream frosting. That's our Hannah Banana cupcake, named after a niece who loves banana as much as I do. Or if I'm in a mood for something different I might use the build your own option.
Vanilla Cake, blue frosting, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: You have a build-your-own cupcake option on your site. Have you ever had any really unusual requests?
AS: Surprisingly, no! So far people seem to be very serious about the cupcakes they order.

CS: In your opinion, what is the most important aspect in making a great cupcake?
AS: That's an easy one for me. I need a great cake recipe (baking from scratch - no mixes) and fresh ingredients. The cake is the foundation for a good cupcake and from that point the creativity flies.

CS: Aside from cupcakes, what are some of your other favorite desserts?
AS: I'm a sucker for ice cream, most anything banana-flavored, or anything with whipped cream on top. And although they're not really a dessert sometimes I crave cinnamon buns!
Chocolate Chocolate Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-CakeCandy Cane Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: The Cupcake Club sounds like our kind of club. Can you tell us more about it?
AS: Sure! The Cupcake Club was created for customers who want to give the wonderful gift of cupcakes 12 months or 6 months out of the year. Wish-Cake offers featured cupcakes with flavors or designs that fit the season, such as January's White Chocolate Snowball, February's Chocolate Passion, March's Green Monster, April's Baseball, May's Pink Petals, June's Pineapple Coconut, July's Red-White-and-Blue, August's Cotton Candy, September's Back-to-School Apple, October's Candy Corn, November's Pumpkin Spice, and December's Candy Cane. Once the purchaser signs up for Wish-Cake's Cupcake Club, he/she will receive an announcement (via email) each month listing the two featured flavors for the upcoming month. The purchaser can choose either of the two flavors - or they can choose to build their own. The Cupcake Club makes a great gift for someone very special.
Cookie Dough Cupcake photo c/o Wish-CakeSnowman Cupcake, photo c/o Wish-Cake
CS: What's next for Wish-cake?
AS: We're just getting started and we have high hopes for the year ahead. We still have a lot of great ideas. We're also looking for ways that we can give back to the community. So today for instance, we participated with the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and supported their annual bake-sale with a variety of different cupcakes that we donated to the cause. That was something nice we could do that ties in well with our original mission. If one of our cupcakes can bring a smile to a kid's face no matter where they are, then we know we are doing something worthwhile. As far as what might be coming...all I can say is to stay tuned. We'll continue to add new things to our menu and look for ways to delight our customers. If we have big news, we'll be sure the readers of Cakespy are in the loop!

In the Philadelphia area? Get your fix by ordering Wish-Cake cupcakes for your next occasion; even if you're far away from PA, you can still enjoy their lovely photos.

 

Wednesday
Nov052008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Aran of Cannelle Et Vanille

Interview with Aran of Cannelle et Vanille
 

Cannelle Et Vanille. Some may argue that this means "cinnamon and vanilla"--but those people would be fools. Consult the Dictionary of Cakespy you'll find a far more poetic translation, along the lines of "most beautiful pastry website on the glowing technological wonder we call the internet". Seriously--this is a site with all hits, no misses. Aran, the incredibly skilled pastry chef and photographer behind the Florida-based operation, originally hails from the Basque Country, and that certain European je ne sais quoi has a way of creeping into everything she does, from stunning Îles flottantes surrounded by a web of spun sugar to super-stylish ice cream sandwiches. Let's learn a bit more about her, shall we?

Cakespy: Why did you start your site?
Cannelle et Vanille: I left work to take care of my son and the first year after he was born, I realized I had not been baking enough and something was missing in my life. I didn’t really know what blogs were until a friend of mine introduced me to Cupcake Bakeshop and then I found Tartelette. One Sunday afternoon, I just started a blog out of the blue and I haven’t stopped since.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: There's no delicate way to say it: your site is food porn. How does it feel to know that all over the world, people are drooling over your site?
CV: It feels great! I never thought so many people would follow my blog but I love thinking that every dessert I make and every photo I take can make one person smile. It still amazes me.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: It seems like a lot of people who begin blogs / sites dedicated to their passion find that it really changes the way they look at the world. How has your site changed life / the way you look at baking?
CV: It really hasn’t changed the way I look at baking. I really just bake what comes to me naturally. But what I have found is that I have struck friendships with people that I would have never met in any other way.


Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: You're from Basque country. What foods do you miss from home?
CV: So many to count… little tiny green peppers from Gernika, fresh fish, red beans from Tolosa, great produce, mamia and my uncle’s puff pastry!
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Is the US approach to food and eating really as repulsive as we suspect it is to people from other countries?
CV: “Repulsive” is a harsh word… I wouldn’t say repulsive. I think there are many people in this country who enjoy fine food. I don’t mean expensive food per se, I mean people that know how to identify fresh fish, how to smell bread or pick great fruit. But I think that the masses are still way behind of how food is viewed in other countries such as my own.
Cakespy Note: Clearly Aran is too diplomatic to say "You Big Mac-eating Americans are gross!". But we have our suspicions. Oh yes.

Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Following up on that point, a while back you actually sent us some of your delectable lemon-olive oil madeleines. Well, I (Head Spy Jessie) personally would like to admit that I hoarded them and shared only one with Mr. Cakespy. Does this make me a bad person?
CV: No, it makes me laugh! It reminds me of myself when I was 7 years old and my grandmother gave me a small white chocolate Nestle bar. I was holding the chocolate bar when my brothers entered the room and I stuffed it all in my mouth, all at once, so I didn’t have to share it with them!
Note from the Head Spy: Allow me to clarify that while Aran was seven during her hoarding incident, I was 26. Yeah.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: If you could spend time baking with any figure in the food world--living or dead--who would it be?
CV: It would definitely be my grandfather Angel who was also a pastry chef. A fine one if I may say so. He retired when I was about 9 years old so I never had a chance to work with him.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: You have pretty much the cutest son, like, ever. What's his favorite dessert?
CV: He loves everything and it can be a problem sometimes. He particularly likes my banana bread but will try anything I give him.

 

CS: If pressed, what would you say the next big thing will be in baking or baked goods?
CV: I think small and delicate will stick around. I like the idea of a small treat. I like leaving wanting more. I also think a natural and rustic approach to food is necessary. I don’t think this is a new idea at all, but I see a lot of focus on it once again.
Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille
CS: Does your family ever get pissed off that they can't eat dessert til your photo shoot is over?
CV: Yes and they drive me insane! The pressure is always on. I sometimes have to hide things in unexpected places so they don’t disappear before the photo shoot.

Photo from Cannelle Et Vanille

CS: What is your ultimate goal as a baker...and with your site?
CV: It’s hard to say. Baking is almost like an impulse for me. Sometimes I feel like an idea comes over my body and I must transform it into something sweet. It’s like purging, otherwise I go insane.
I think as of now, my goal is for me to become a better photographer. That’s where I am at the moment.
Want more? Get yourself over to Cannelle Et Vanille right away; check out her wonderful photos at flickr. If you're interested in hiring Aran, she's available, baby--she's mos' def your girl for recipe development, consulting and food photography and can be contacted through her site.

 

 

 

Monday
Oct272008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Matt and Renato of Baked, Brooklyn NY

Batter Chatter with Baked
(Cakespy Note: Many of the photos in this interview are c/o the Baked website, and were taken by Tina Rupp and Brian Kennedy).


In case you're not familar, this is Baked, a sweet little spot in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

 

Baked exterior

These are Renato and Matt, the adorable owners.


Renato and Matt, Baked
And these are some of their baked goods. 
Coconut cupcakes from Baked
Cake, baked
Malted Cake, Baked

If it's not already clear why we love Baked and its bakers, then please scroll back and review the photos again (and smack yourself while you're at it). Yes, we love Baked--and so it should be no surprise that we also love their brand new cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, which includes recipes for a great variety of their gorgeously decadent, down-home-with-a-gourmet-touch baked goods, as well as the sweet stories behind them. 
Recently we caught up with them when they passed through Seattle on their book tour. Knowing that they've been doing a lot of interviews, we decided to conduct ours a little bit differently--putting them on the spot by having their own baked goods conduct a picto-interview. In a sort of rorschach-type manner, they were presented the following images and asked to react. 
Baked Faceoff
Question one was presented by the Baked Brownie and the Bakedbar.

Matt: Almost always theBaked Brownie--I love the Bakedbar...I mean, they're both our children...but I think the Baked Brownie is a little tougher.
Renato: A little meaner.
Matt: Yes...a little meaner.
Cakespy: So that's it. Sophie's Choice--you win, Baked Brownie.

Baked Good Response: Bakedbar bows head in shame, little coconut bits drooping sadly.

 

Sweet n Salty Cake
Question two addressed the buzz about the bakery case's heartthrob, the Sweet & Salty Cake (dark chocolate cake infused with a salty caramel, caramel chocolate ganache and topped with fleur de sel.).


Renato: It's a classic combination that nobody really thinks about--that sweet and salty combination, with dark chocolate, caramel, fleur de sel, it comes together in this way that makes all other desserts bow down to it.
Matt: It's an obsessive dessert, that's for sure.
Renato: When people bite into it, you see their face just...melt.
Cakespy: And then it's just a journey to see how fast they can cram it into their mouth.

Baked good response: Sweet & Salty says "Please, ladies and gentlemen...there's enough of me to go around!"

 

muffin
Question three addresses a serious cake issue--cupcakes vs. muffins--is the banana espresso chocolate chip muffin in their book really just cake in disguise?


Matt: Oh, absolutely. There's no doubt about it. The best muffin is just a cake in disguise.
Renato: It's kind of like a naked cake--there's just no frosting.

Baked Good response: "I've been living a lie!"

 

Headpiece faceoff
Question four addressed headpieces: whose is awesomer, the meringue topped tart, or their logo-mascot deer?


Renato: My answer is the mascot...we use him everywhere--on tote bags, buttons, tee-shirts...
Matt: Is it possible they could be equally awesome?
Renato: I do love lemon, but I'm gonna go with the stag.
Matt: I'm gonna go equal.
Cakespy: I'll try to be diplomatic here: while the stag's antlers may be slightly more awesome, the lemon meringue is likely more delicious. (Matt and Renato seem to like that).

Baked Good Response: Tart says "What does stag have that I don't?"

 

Tricolor cookiesBaked Tricolor Cookies
Question five tackled the Baked take on the tricolor cookie, which is different from the traditional Italian-flag coloring. It begs the question--would theirs get beat up in Little Italy? 


Renato: Probably.
Matt: Probably.
Renato: Ours are very delicate--they're made in small batches, with a circular cutter--those other ones are mass produced, and so would overpower them by sheer number.
Cakespy: So we'll keep them in their corner of Brooklyn--out of Bensonhurst.
Baked Good Response: "I'm a delicate flower--keep me away from those thug-cookies!"

velvet
Question six was posed by the Red-Hot Velvet cake: "Am I the sexiest cake in the case?"

Matt: Oh yeah. Everyone wants a piece of that red velvet. It's just that deep scarlet red, with a little bit of cinnamon in the buttercream...you just can't go wrong. I think that a lot of red velvet cakes look like the crazy aunt--but this is the sexy nymph.
Renato: If you watch Mad Men...this cake is Joan.
Baked Good Response: "You know you want me."

 

German Chocolate Cake
Chocolate chip cookies, Baked
Question seven came to us from German Chocolate cake, the underdog of the bakery case--always a solid choice, but so rarely the #1 choice. He asks in a winsome manner, "Which one of us would you take with you on a desert island?". We can tell he hopes it's him.

Matt: I don't know if I would take German Chocolate...but I would definitely send him notes back home.
Renato: I'd want more buttercream.
Matt: We're indulgent to a fault.
Renato: I'd put a letter in a bottle in hopes that it would get back to him.
Matt: Yeah, we'd definitely send letters and money.
But what would you choose?
Matt: I'd choose the Baked brownie. I'm a brownie fan, and that's the reason to be for me.
Renato: I'd take the chocolate chip cookie, because I could eat that every day and not get tired of it.

Baked Good Response: Cue the "Debbie Downer" music.

Wanna get Baked? Check out their site at bakednyc.com. We also highly suggest their book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking!

 

 

 

Sunday
Oct192008

Batter Chatter: Interview with Cordon Bleu Student Jess Abas

Batter chatter: Interview with Jess Abas 

So you wanna quit your job and become a baker. Sure, it sounds glamorous and fun--a world of buttercream and sugar! All sweetness all the time!--but what is it like, you know, before the Food Network tapes start rolling? Recently, we took some time to discuss the life of a budding pastry chef with Jess Abas, who knows what it's like to work (and travel) for pastry--she moved from Tulsa, OK to enroll in the patisserie program at the Scottsdale, AZ outpost of Le Cordon Bleu. From what we see (including a fantastic Cakespy-inspired cake!) she knows her way around a kitchen--and residents of Nashville can rejoice, because upon graduating, she's already secured a position at Sugar Bar, which is slated to open in Spring 2009.

 

Cakespy Note: The photos used are all Jess' creations--they're all ssignments and baking projects!

Cakespy: What made you decide to study patisserie and baking?

Jess Abas: Growing up cooking was always a big part of my family: at the holidays, dinners, etc. My Dad was always involved in the food industry (i.e. working at Sysco, owning a restaurant equipment company, and owning a couple food establishments). Also, my big influence is my Grandmother. When I was younger she was always baking cookies and she always let me help her decorate with sprinkles and whatnot. Food was always an activity I was welcomed to help with and I loved that. That kind of food always reminds people of home, I think. That's why I just had to be a part of it.

 

Meringues by JessCakes by Jess
CS: From what we hear, studying at Le Cordon Bleu is a very intense experience. Is it as hard/competitive as we hear?
JA: This school is definitely intense! They take what would normally take a couple years and condense it into one year (that's for the degree program). It's set up crazy but way worth it once you get to the end. The hardest part about the school is that it moves so fast that you sometimes (a lot) do not have time to perfect all the skills. You learn it, do it a couple times, and then you move on to the next thing. That always frustrates a lot of the students. Being in the this field turns everyone into a perfectionist, I think.

Entreme by Jess AbasCake by Jess
And yes, the school is really competitive. It's like 30 students all studying the same specialty, in one classroom... You always see people sneaking glances at your stuff and wonder what they are thinking. Than, you hear other people's grades and compare your stuff to theirs.
Pastillage by Cakespy reader Jess!
CS: Do you think that attending culinary school has changed the way you look at baked goods / pastries in bakeries or restaurants? More appreciative? More critical?
JA: Going to school has completely changed the way I see everything. It makes me both--more appreciative, in that I know the effort and time someone put in to get that product--and critical, in that now I know they way some things are supposed to taste and look from a classic stand-point. Although, I must say I just love old-fashioned baking (that's the best).

Harlequin Rolls by JessCake by Jess
CS: You currently study in Scottsdale. Are there any pastries or bakeries that simply cannot be missed for visitors?
JA: Scottsdale is great! There are tons of restaurants and little bake shops, everywhere. Definitely, go to one of the school's restaurants. They have one at both campuses.

Breakfast tart by JessPie by Jess
CS: What is your favorite baked good to make?
JA: I love baking anything, really. Pies, cookies, brownies, cakes, anything! As long as it tastes good, Ha! I find myself going back to making pies & cobblers, a lot. It's minimal ingredients, fresh fruit, slow-baked... how could it not be good? And they are great because the ingredients change according to season.

CS: What are your favorite baked goods to eat?
JA: My favorite things to eat? Absolutely everything, haha! I have a sweet tooth, that's for sure. I really love a great cookie with a glass of milk or a slice of pie with some ice cream. You know? The stuff that my Grandma would make.

Crumble by Jess

CS: What is your ultimate goal as a baker?
JA: Oh wow! That's a hard question. My ultimate goal is to attempt to make as much delicious food as possible and try and bring as much joy to the people I am giving it to, as it brings me to bake it. I would love to just feed everyone, feed all the hungry.

 

CS: Do you have any advice for others who may be considering culinary school? Stuff you wish you knew before you started, tips, etc?
JA: If it's what you love to do, whether it be baking or cooking.. Just, go for it! School is a great way to get better and train and hone your skills. It's also a great way to network with other people in the industry. And you have to be committed, it's a tough school, it's a tough field, and it's a tough job. Just love it and do it.

As you can see, Jess is not only sweet but wise too! For more information on Le Cordon Bleu's programs, visit this site; to find out more about Jess' future workplace, visit blog.thesugarbar.com!

 

 

 

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