EASY MAGAZINE: Destination: Pastry heaven
Success can mean different things to different people but for Tsahai Reid it is a journey not a destination.
Easy met with the young pastry chef from Regency Park, Christ Church, during a pit stop on the to becoming a successful international pastry chef.
Her dedication and love for making desserts propelled her to start her own business.
However, to reach this point, she made a few stops first.
Her first was at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in management.
This is where she picked up an interest in cake decorating and decided this was the career she wanted to pursue.
From there, she passed through Chaguaramas and stopped in Airways Road Hilltop Lane, to attend the Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute.
After receiving her baking and pastry diploma, Reid went to Castries and completed a six month internship at Sandals Halcyon Beach Resort in St Lucia.
She recalled her experience there.
“I spent my first day at work making cookies. I replaced the old interns who were making them so they could move on to something else. They made little jokes at me saying ‘Oh these are the new interns who have to make cookies’. So another girl and I were making cookies for almost a month,” she said.
“Eventually they let me try my hands at the chocolate buffet. I was able to prove my skills and show them what I could do. I was excited. I was like finally this is my opportunity. So that became my specialty, she explained.
“But there were days when I followed the recipe and things did not come out right. But in that fast pace environment, you have to be quick on your feet. So I would think of ways to repurpose my mishaps in a way that would be appealing to guests sitting in the restaurant.”
Reid added that she enjoyed the internship because she met people from different Caribbean islands although she struggled at times with language diversity.
“In St Lucia with Patois, I would zone out of the conversations at work. They speak so fast I could not understand anything. So I would let them have their conversations and then explain things to me later. And my Head Pastry Chef and Executive Pastry Chef were Jamaican so when they start I would be like hmmm I am the only Bajan here. But it was nice to interact with them because they would try to teach me a few words so that I would pick up on what they were saying.”
After the internship, Reid knew it was time to continue the journey.
She landed a job at Buzo Osteria Italiana- Barbados a year after she started her own business.
In 2014, the 26 year-old began to operate her dessert company from home.
The owner of Socre’es Desserts specializes in several areas, keeping abreast of worldwide trends in pastry design.
She makes mouthwatering cookies, specialty cakes, cheese cakes and cupcakes.
The former St Michael School pupil said, “Business is going well. It could be better but people are now discovering me.”
So far, I am able to manage being a Pastry Chef at Buzo and operating my business at home,” she said.
“Sometimes I work for weeks without getting any free time but I am so passionate about what I am doing that free time is not required. However, I find time to hang out with friends and watch Food Network.”
One of her biggest achievements since the inauguration of her business is her website.
Reid said her brother created the website in a user friendly way.
In this technological era, Reid said ecommerce is the way to go. By tapping into this industry she said, “People can look at the variety of items I can make and the prices. They can purchase my desserts with the click of a button and I am proud of that.”
Although Tsahai has come a long way from the beginning of her journey, she said she had a few more stops to make before she reaches her peak.
She explained that in order to gain international status, she has to seek further training in a recognised international restaurant.
She is aspiring to work in a European restaurant for a selected number of years and return home to open a restaurant.
She was awarded several awards at NIFCA two years ago when she used local fruit such as Sour sop to make cheesecake. (SB)