THE MNY SPOTLIGHT
Loria Stern, Chef and Caterer
Meet Loria! A California based chef and caterer, whose creativity has led to some iconic pastry selection and wedding cake designs. Read her full interview below!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I grew up in Ojai, California, a very small town surrounded by mountains but just a 15 minute drive to the beach. My youth was largely dedicated to tennis-- I was a nationally ranked tennis player from ages 10-18 years old and went on to play division I college tennis and then pro tournaments after college. I still play for fun and for exercise. Growing up, my mom was a terrific cook and I have very fond memories learning from her in the kitchen. My first culinary job was in 2010 at a vegan cafe. Since then, I've worked at a handful of culinary establishments to hone in my craft. I started my own business in 2016.
How did you come up with the idea to use pressed flowers in your creations?
The idea was inspired by a bridal shower party that I was catering, the theme was Georgia O Keefe Desert Flower, all the food was infused with edible flowers and/or desert-like ingredients (like mesquite and cactus!). That was the first time I tried baking flowers on cookies, and I still use that very same recipe in all of my shortbread cookies today.
What is your creative process behind making the perfect wedding cake?
I always sketch the cake and plan out the height meticulously. The architecture behind the cake is more scientific and exact whereas the decorating is more artistic and improvisational.
What has been your favorite wedding cake creation to date?
I love this cake (pictured above) that I made for a bride last year-- it was so tall and full of California native pressed edible flowers and herbs.
What is your favorite cake flavor? Favorite pastry?
I looooove the olive oil cake we make, it is not too sweet and deliciously moist! My favorite pastry is probably a croissant or morning bun, but the hippie in my loves a healthy bran muffin.
How do you balance flavors and innovate such beautiful creations?
I make sure my treats are never too sweet and balanced with salt. I love using kosher salt or large flaked salt like maldon.
What is the best unexpected sweet flavor combination you have come across? Best Savory combination?
For sweet, I love rose, lychee and raspberry. For savory I love preserved lemon, castelvetrano olive and rosemary.
Many are taking up baking during this time of COVID-19. Are there any tips you have to achieve a professional look?
There are so many tips! My advice would be to watch baking videos on youtube, that is essentially how I taught myself how to bake fancy cakes.
What are some of the easiest hacks for home-bakers or beginners?
Make sure you line your baking pans with parchment paper. I find most sweet recipes too sweet, so my rule of thumb is to always half the sugar and double the vanilla.
What draws you to the Mestiza brand?
Mestiza is so femme and pretty, hard not to be drawn to!
What are some of your favorite Mestiza pieces?
I love the Flora mini (which i own!) and the Sintra mini, so gorgeous!
What’s next for you?! What are you working on?
I'm working on a cookbook, so excited to share my recipes and process with the world!