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Meet Naomi Anderson: Pastry Chef, Trinidad

Meet Naomi Anderson: A passionate pastry artist and the proud owner of Unicakery in Trinidad. Her delightful creations and commitment to both baking and learning have made Unicakery a sweet haven for cake enthusiasts and

Meet Naomi Anderson: A passionate pastry artist and the proud owner of Unicakery in Trinidad. Her delightful creations and commitment to both baking and learning have made Unicakery a sweet haven for cake enthusiasts and aspiring bakers alike.

From a tender age, Naomi took her baking inspiration from her grandmother who created delicious foods without a recipe in sight. And, by age 13 with a gift of baking tools and her first cookbook Naomi knew what she wanted to do when she grew up. She followed her passion at age 16 to the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute (TTHTI) where she received formal training and got to experience on the job training at top-class resorts in the Caribbean.

After qualifying, Unicakery was set up as her own online bakery business. Over the years, Naomi’s clientele has included local TV, radio and sports personalities. She also writes recipes features for newspapers.

Naomi recently discussed her culinary journey in an interview, which began with her admiration for her grandmother’s cooking skills.  Fast-forward to today and Naomi stands at the helm of Unicakery, admiring her students transform into artists. It’s not just about baking; they discover self-belief and potential. Unicakery is made with magic.

Naomi Anderson

Q: Can you start by briefly introducing yourself?

A: Hello, I'm Naomi Anderson, a passionate pastry artist and the proud owner of Unicakery. I've dedicated over 10 years (basically half my life) to the art of cake decorating and dessert making.

Q: What professional training have you taken to become a pastry chef?

A: I attended the Trinidad Hospitality and Tourism Institute (THTI) straight out of secondary school, I was 16 going on 17. I completed formal training at TTHTI or hotel school as we know it, where I obtained a diploma in Culinary Arts and Baking and Pastry Arts.

Q: As part of your course, you interned at hotels/resorts? How did this experience enhance your skills?

A: During my internship at Sandals in Antigua and The Crane in Barbados, I had the privilege of working alongside persons who are familiar with the ins and outs of the industry, this was a very tender time in my career that I'm always grateful to have experienced. This experience not only developed my technical skills but also taught me the importance of precision, creativity, and teamwork in a professional kitchen setting.

Q: You worked as a pastry chef on Royal Caribbean. What did the experience teach you?

A: Working as a pastry chef at Royal Caribbean was an interesting experience, to say the least. I didn't work for too long as the pandemic had cut my time short, however for the time that I did work, I did not quite enjoy it that much because I don't think the work there aligned with what I wanted in my career. I still made the best of my experience and met great people. It's a very fast-paced environment so creating high-quality desserts on a large scale was exciting at times.

Q: Having experienced being a pastry chef at top-notch hotels and onboard a cruise ship what inspired you to start your own business?

A: From the beginning, I always knew that I wanted to have my own business, I never saw myself being employed for too long(the longest job I worked at was for 2 years) so the entrepreneurial spirit was always there for me. I just wanted to create a space where I could share my passion for cake artistry, my love for art, offer unique desserts, and now empower aspiring bakers through specialized courses.

Q: How did you come up with the name “Unicakery”?

A: It's a reflection of my childhood fascination with unicorns, particularly during my preteen years. Growing up, I was often described as unique, different, or even a bit "weird" by my peers. However, I embraced these qualities as strengths, and they became the driving force behind my passion for cakes and creativity. One night, the name "Unicakery" came to me in a dream, and I knew it was meant to be. It symbolizes not only the magic of cake artistry but also the celebration of individuality and embracing what makes us truly unique.

Q: What does your business presently consist of? (online orders, courses, etc)

A: Unicakery offers a range of services including customized cakes for special occasions, orders for baked goods, and professionally curated courses in cake decorating and pastry arts.

Photo Courtesy of Unicakery

Q: Did you have any business experience before you started Unicakery?

A: I absolutely did NOT have any experience, so my business is very experimental a lot of the time and I'm still learning as time goes on. It's a very exciting and rewarding journey. My career made a special turn in 2023, with a serious mindset shift I really decided to work towards building my legacy with Unicakery. I have since been a part of a few programs that are meant to elevate women in business such as AWE (academy of women entrepreneurs) which introduced me to the world of pitching. The PowHerful Women in business program launched by JMMB provided me with mentorship coaching that I am extremely grateful for. Lastly, I was also a part of CARIRI's DIA youth innovation lab is carried out in collaboration with the OAS and Trust of the Americas, a lot of these programs have contributed to my career in a special way that I'm very grateful for.

Q: What inspired you to share your knowledge and create internationally certified courses?

A: I believe in the power of education and wanted to provide aspiring pastry chefs with a comprehensive learning experience. The courses I create, and offer ensure that students receive industry-recognized training and opens doors to global opportunities in the culinary world, allowing them to explore the magic of cake artistry as I say.

Q: What is your most popular course?

A: Our most popular course is the Certificate in Cake Artistry course, we recently completed cycle 4 where students learn advanced techniques in fondant work, baking of cakes, buttercream art and even some recipe costing techniques for those who are interested in having their own business or already has one.

Q: How was the journey getting to where you are now?

A: The journey to building Unicakery has been filled with challenges, growth, and rewarding experiences. It's been a journey of continuous learning, adapting to market trends, and staying true to who I am and what I want to get out of the work I put out, everything is very intentional.

Photo Courtesy of Unicakery

Q: Do you do collaborations with other pastry chefs in Trinidad? If so, who was the latest and what did they do?

A: Yes, we collaborate with talented pastry chefs in Trinidad to bring unique experiences to our customers. Our latest collaboration involved a renowned chef specializing in sugar art, enhancing our cake designs with intricate sugar sculptures.

Q: Have you entered any festivals or competitions (locally, regionally, internationally)? If so, feel free to mention your accolades.

A: I've recently been intrigued with business pitch competitions because I needed funding for my business ideas. I learned about them and entered 2 in 2023, in the first one I placed 3rd and after brushing up on my pitch deck, I entered another and gained the highest score! This even led me to be recognized by reputable local organizations and win the Female Youth Entrepreneur of the Year award at the end of 2023.

Q: Have you prepared anything for a celebrity or big event? If so, what and who (although we may not mention the name in the interview but rather the field, they work in…entertainment, sport etc)

A: Yes, Trinidad is quite small. I've made desserts for local performers as well as radio and tv personalities in the past.

Q: What does the future hold for Unicakery?

A: The future of Unicakery is focused on expanding our offerings, reaching a wider audience through online platforms, and continuing to innovate in cake artistry. We aim to be a leading destination for both exquisite desserts and comprehensive culinary education.

Q: Is there anything else you want our readers to know?

 A: I want to express my gratitude to our loyal customers, dedicated team, and my students for their ongoing support. I'm always happy when people are willing to read about or hear my story and perspective on how I get my work done.

 

 

Nadia Ali

Nadia Ali is a writer and a children’s picture book author - the latest being Humphrey the Egg-splorer. She was born in London, UK and now lives in the Caribbean. With over a decade of writing, she writes across many genres including travel, fashion, and lifestyle. Her work has been published both online and in glossy magazine.

nadiafreelancewriter@yahoo.com

Nadia Ali is a writer and a children’s picture book author - the latest being Humphrey the Egg-splorer. She was born in London, UK and now lives in the Caribbean. With over a decade of writing, she writes across many genres including travel, fashion, and lifestyle. Her work has been published both online and in glossy magazine.

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