I’m a visual person, and also a self-proclaimed nerd. I love research. When there’s an idea I’m working on I tend to pull references or inspiration from a myriad of different sources and then sketch or make lists and see where it takes me.
Anything chocolate! Not that that’s terribly midwestern, but I think I look for simple and nostalgic flavors to be the base of what I create. Desserts are such a comfort food and nostalgia plays a big role in what people like. My parents and I always made peppermint ice cream and hot fudge every winter, and that’s something that I still do.
One of the silver linings amidst all the “pivoting” we’ve had to do as a business in the past year, is that I’ve had time to take on custom projects for guests that I normally wouldn’t have had. Creating custom birthday (and other celebration) cakes has been one of my favorite things this year.
Travel has always been a huge part of my life. What’s the quote, “not all who wander are lost?” I think I have discovered lots of pieces of what makes me ME scattered all over the globe. Professionally, of course I love exploring new ingredients, cuisines, and the way culture and its food are intertwined. When I was a kid my parents and I would take cross-country road trips in the summer. My first trip abroad was a trip to France in high school. During college I visited the UK for the first time, and when I graduated I moved to London for several months. That was a launching pad for a lot more international travel. Personally I love history, art, and architecture, and find inspiration in how other cultures live.
I’m so excited to deep dive into the food scene with local chefs and producers, not relying on the same information that everyone else reads in books or on websites. And, of course, to experience the burgeoning Vietnamese chocolate industry up close.
I always have a stack of books on my nightstand at various points of completion. Currently there: Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table; Barack Obama’s A Promised Land; a few books on watercolor painting (a new hobby); Toni Morrison’s Home; How to Be an Anti-Racist; and The Lost Girls of Paris.