Several months ago, I noticed something quite wonderful had changed inside of the baked goods case at the Mother Earth Storehouse Kingston location. I found myself beelining to the back each week where I’d find things like chocolate souffle cupcakes with white chocolate mint icing or vanilla malt cupcakes with pineapple cream cheese icing and pineapple flowers. Who in the world was responsible for these irresistible and creative desserts?
Now we know. KingstonCitizens.org took some time out to get the scoop on the talented local baker Terese Fantasia. Mother of two and wife of architect Scott Dutton, Terese and family reside in the city of Kingston.
Rebecca Martin: How long have you lived in the city of Kingston?
Therese Fantasia: I have lived in Kingston for ten years. Before that I was living in Hoboken and working in Manhattan.
RM: What are your earliest memories of making meals, and when did you realize that you were a baker?
TF: I remember as a child, helping my dad make pancakes for the family, standing on a chair in front of the stove. I also remember helping him roll and hang up homemade pasta to dry all over our kitchen. We would drape the hand-cut spaghetti all over the backs of chairs, and over kitchen twine that was strung like a spider web all over the place! I also remember him teaching me to make his special meatball recipe, flecked with orange zest and hidden within each meatball would be one pine nut and one raisin. Of course when I was shaping the meatballs I would always sneak in more raisins! Also, my Mom is 2nd generation Hungarian and my Dad was 2nd generation French and Italian, so in our family we (there are five siblings) were exposed to a lot of eclectic and unconventional foods. I have always had a broad palate and a great interest in food. I guess the baking came into play later on. At work and family functions I was always the one making the desserts, and I developed a very strong passion for it. When I see a recipe I like, I won’t rest until I’ve tried it. Baking is more of a science and is less forgiving than cooking, and I’m very stubborn…when I see a challenge I won’t stop unless I’ve conquered it. I’m still working at it!
RM: How did the position at Mother Earth come about? Why was it a good fit for you?
TF: I guess I was in the right place at the right time to get this dream job at Mother Earth’s! They are so accommodating; they let me make my own schedule around caring for my two young daughters. I suppose they were looking for someone who had a passion for baking, and I definitely fit that bill! I love to be creative with my baking, and they have given me full reign over my little corner of their kitchen!
RM: What are your goals for their bakery?
TF: Well, obviously Mother Earth’s Storehouse is well-known for their quality and variety of natural packaged, prepared, and bulk food items. Ideally I would love for the store to become a destination for people who enjoy the baked goods that I provide. I try to come up with new ideas and flavor combinations that will raise eyebrows as well as pleasing taste buds. I guess I’d like the Mother Earth’s bakery to become a destination itself! I know that’s a tall order, but like I said, I’m stubborn!
RM: I recently had one of your Green Tea cupcakes and have to tell you, that it was the most unique and delicious baked good I’ve ever had. What is your process in coming up with ideas like this and what other goodies do you have up your sleeve for the Spring?
TF: Thank you! I really like the flavor of green tea, and that COLOR!!! The wheat grass sprouting out of the top was an after-thought that I really liked once it was put together. I have so many places I go to for baking ideas, but most times I’ll see something in a cookbook or on the internet, and I’ll branch off and try to come up with something unique based on a simple recipe I’ve seen. Or, I’ll become obsessed with a particular ingredient and I’ll ruminate on it until I come up with a recipe to fit that ingredient. That’s what happened with the Green Tea idea. Also, it’s not hard coming up with ideas when you have the most wholesome, organic and beautiful ingredients at your fingertips!
RM: Do you offer private catering? If so, how can someone get in contact with you?
TF: Yes, I do baking for private events. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org