The Picasso of Baking
Baking is therapy. Baking is art. Baking is life.
With the robust aroma of roasted coffee beans and the screeching noise of steaming milk, a rainy day in New York City didn’t stop me from meeting a dope chef. As we wined and dined over steak wraps and fries at a black owned café known as Corner Grind, we couldn’t help but discuss life, womanhood, blackness, and baking.
Chef Nakai is a well known dessert chef in the NYC area. Inspired by “Rachel Ray 30 Minute Cooking” show and her mother having a sweet thumb, at the age of 13, Nakai was determined to become the next Picasso of baking. From the first glazed donuts she created using biscuit dough smothered in a simple glaze sauce of confectioners sugar and milk, to now mastering a unique puree made of strawberry starburst to compliment the standard strawberry shortcake, it was a moment of upgrading from grasshopper to sensei! To pursue her dream, Nakai went to Food and Finance High School, where she learned the basics and the essentials of fine culinary and baking for 4 years. At 17, she worked her first bakery job at Shmackary’s bakery. And to make sure y’all put some RESPECK on her name, she went to Alfred State college and got a degree in Baking & Pastry Arts.
Today, Nakai has a company called Chef Nakai Co. that sells desserts of all original and unique flavors. Her company includes an online store which offers shipping, pick ups, catering for all events and baking classes centered around food and helping future chefs. Here’s some advice from the master herself:
“Tie practical skills with a style that makes you happy. Get professional experience and schooling and learn as much as you can. Then develop a style that you resonate with and start to build your reputation and branding around that, especially if you plan to start a business. Above all else, be innovative and creative. Find a starting point where people can get to know you and your skills, then take them on a journey and give them experiences that no one else in your field(s) can.”
Eventually Chef Nakai Co. will evolve into a store front with a normal bakery/cafe, a space for her baking classes and events, and hopefully start shipping throughout the country and even internationally.
Enjoy getting to know more about Nakai by visiting her website and eating her delicious treats served to perfection.