Feature: Vanessa Celestine/iCandyBakedGoods

June 20, 2012

Although she was born in Brooklyn NY, I claiming her fully as St. Lucian lol :). Ms. Celestine's people are right there from the CDC and I must say they are a talented bunch, from Anthony “Corky” the dancer, to Mario the pilot and Jeffrey Gamble the photographer, even to my Charlie the budding artist.  My Feature today though is on Vanessa and her skills in the kitchen, which she calls Food Porn on her Facebook page.

ML: When did you know you wanted to become a chef?

VC: Growing up I was always creative and enjoyed the arts, but I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to pursue as a career. After undergrad I got a job as a Sales Manager at a wholesale bakery, where I consulted clients on the design and flavors of their wedding cakes. That job opened my eyes to an exciting new world and unleashed many opportunities. It was then I recognized my passion for event planning and food. After two years, I decided to hone my craft by enrolling in the culinary program at The Institute of Culinary Education.

ML:  What is your philosophy when it comes to food?

VC: My philosophy on food is quite simple. Food is an experience. It's the first thing we think of when we visit another country. For that reason alone, the ingredients that you use to create this food experience should be fresh, local, and made with love.

ML: What inspires you? How do you come up with ideas for the dishes you create?

VC: My philosophy on food is quite simple. Food is an experience. It's the first thing we think of when we visit another country. For that reason alone, the ingredients that you use to create this food experience should be fresh, local, and made with love.

ML: What’s your favorite dish on your menu and why?

VC: As a Personal Chef, I do not have a set menu because every client has their own specifications. However, I enjoy spicy foods, curries, and a really good soup.

ML: Do you read a lot of cookbooks? If so, which one would you recommend to someone who just started out cooking?

VC:  I don't think I have a lot of cookbooks. In fact, I think I need more. I do have some essentials like “The Flavor Bible”, “Escoffier”, “Alinea”, and several pastry books. For someone just starting out, if a recipe calls for some spices, protein, produce, and basic cooking techniques, I say freestyle! Cookbooks are solely for inspiration. Cooking comes from the soul.

ML: Do you have any tips for budding chefs?

VC: Education doesn't stop after culinary school. Learn from everyone and every experience you encounter as a Chef. It's a competitive world so stay humble and true to your craft. It's not a race.

ML: Where do you see yourself in the future?

VC: I see myself as a serial entrepreneur. I have notebooks from 2003, scattered papers and notes in my phone with ideas that I'd like to see come to fruition. In the next five years I see myself owning a successful bakery, a line of condiments and spices, and hopefully opening my first restaurant, just to name a few.

ML: I notice you have an event catering company and also an online bakery, how does the online bakery work instead of the traditional type of bakery?  Do you see yourself opening a storefront?

VC: The online bakery (coming soon), will feature our new signature baked goods. Some of our new items include: pies, layer cakes, whoopie pies, French macarons and more. Customers in the NYC area will be able to place their orders through our website, and the orders will be baked and delivered within 48 hours. We will continue to make custom cakes, and we're also excited about the dessert catering service that we will launch along with the online bakery. Right now a storefront is not in our near future because this expansion is just what we need and then everything else will fall into place.

This is the link to her catering company and also to the facebook page:

http://www.lotuscateringnyc.com/

http://www.facebook.com/lotuscateringnyc

This is her facebook page to iCandyBakedGoods, go ahead and like it:

http://www.facebook.com/iCANDYBakedGoods

She has started a campaign to raise funds for the online bakery, I have already pledged my contribution; here is the link to it, go ahead and support her dreams:

http://www.indiegogo.com/icandybakedgoods?a=651794

Potato gratin, grilled lamb, and swiss chard (yummy)

For de vaval diva's

    More about Meli Mel

    Mom and wife originally from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and now reside in the United States. This blog is about the day to day things I see and sometimes may encounter in this fascinating world that we live in. Live life in concert with your values! Never be paralyzed! Don't wait for people to change!

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