I’ve been sitting on this blog for quite a while, partially because I couldn’t quite figure out how to do this in an original, but still interesting enough way, in that it wasn’t like a typical interview. Then the idea came to me to merge my love of storytelling along with the captivating interview, so that’s what I did!
I interviewed my friend and amazing pastry chef Melissa Cunningham about her business “Cakes N’ Bakes by Melissa”. This is a part of an ongoing series called “Gas Them Up” where I interview my friends who are entrepreneurs. The answers to the questions are 100% theirs but the setting of the interview is completely from my imagination. Enjoy!
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Starting the weekend right is the perfect remedy for ensuring your Monday doesn’t suck. This was the thought that went through Ali’s mind on Friday evening as she sat and glanced around, completely surrounded by friends she considered family, with amazing food and wine at her fingertips. Ali, Rach, Ash, Mel and Yan all grew up in the same neighbourhood, and while life had been wonderful to them, they no longer lived in close proximity to each other. It had since become a tradition for these five ladies to meet and de-stress at least once a month, and she had to admit it was one of their best ideas yet.
She scanned the table filled with a pastry junkie’s dream – key lime pie, strawberry shortcake, Bailey’s cheesecake and a chocolate Ganache Drip Cake, and whispered to herself as she swirled her wine, “This is the life.”
“Right?” Her friend, Rach agreed. Ali nodded and smiled. She hadn’t realised anyone would have heard her.
“I’m going leave here fat but totally satisfied, so I don’t care.” Ash, chimed in.
Mel joined them on the deck, carrying a bottle of Moscato.
“Girl, I must ask what would you be wasting your amazing talent on if you weren’t a pastry chef?” Ali asked, as she bit into another slice her key lime pie. She closed her eyes savouring the incredible taste and the flavours that made her taste buds dance.
Mel unscrewed the bottle and poured herself a glass. “While I always loved being in the kitchen, I actually thought about dentistry then I got braces and considered becoming Orthodontist.” She laughed as the memory resurfaced. “Then I realized the sciences weren’t for me and focused on what I thought would just be a hobby: cooking. I began pursuing an Executive Chef future but along the way it still didn’t feel right. I guess it came to me one night that I was in the right place doing the wrong job. Then I went fully into baking after I graduated University.”
She took a small sip of the wine and reached for the strawberry shortcake. She took special care to ensure she caught a slice that was filled with actual strawberries in the middle.
“The world would seriously be missing out.” Yan agreed, while cutting into the cheesecake.
The ladies all nodded in agreement.
Ash sat back in her chair and pondered. “Was your family always supportive of your career choice?”
Mel licked strawberry frosting from her index finger before replying. “More or less. They encouraged me to do what I loved always, but also saw the downside: long hours, underpaid et cetera and so they encouraged me to keep my options open, in terms of maybe not working in the kitchen, but in the food & beverage department. I’d still be in the food service industry but not doing the physical work.”
“Oh, understandable,” Ash replied.
“What has been your proudest moment thus far?” Rach asked.
Mel smiled as she reached for her phone and pulled up her Instagram page to show her friends. “Having my work photographed by Dwayne Watkins and having a feature in Indulge magazine.”
“Oh my gosh, yaaaas girl!” Ali exclaimed.
Yan reached for her wine glass. “I think this is a perfect opportunity to toast.”
“You just want a reason to get more wine.” Ash rolled her eyes and laughed at her friend.
“I never need a reason.” Yan replied, topping up her glass.
They all laughed and clinked their glasses together. “To Mel.” They said in unison.
“Tell me something though, what’s your secret ingredient?” Rach inquired.
“If I tell you it won’t be a secret.” Mel swirled her wine and winked.
“True, true.” Rach agreed.
Ali leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest as she watched Ash pull a game of Taboo from her bag.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” She said.
They all laughed together. This was truly The Life.