Chef Charlise Johnson is the owner of Intimate Eats, a bakery that specializes in made from scratch baked goods. As the daughter of a caterer, she was exposed to various cooking techniques at a young age, but it was her love of baking that really warmed her heart. Her goal as a baker is to not only make visually stunning confections but to also make sure they taste as good as they look. For more information, please visit her online at www.IntimateEats.com, www.Facebook.com/IntimateEats, and on Instagram @intimateeats.
Congratulations Chef Charlise Johnson on being one of our Pastry Chefs for the Month for October!
Your desserts look fantastic and we appreciate your business! Our chef coats look great on you….
1. What is the name of your company and where are you based?
I am the Pastry Chef for my Baking company, Intimate Eats based in Atlanta, Georgia.
2. What is your birthplace?
3. What made you decide to become a chef?
My mom is a caterer and I grew up around food my entire life and fell in love with baking which fueled my passion to start my own baking company.
4. What do you enjoy doing outside of being a chef?
Love going to the Movies. I like romance and all Marvel Studio movies like XMen and Spiderman series.
5. What is your favorite social media platform?
6. What is your Must Have Kitchen Tool?
KitchenAid Mixer – they are so amazing. I make all kinds of things with it like dinner rolls and cupcakes. It makes life so much easier.
7. What is your specialty dish?
My Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies. I have been making it since I was 9 years old and it makes me always think of home every time I bake them.
8. What’s the strangest thing you ever ate?
Squid Pasta – I love it!
Chef Charlise Johnson’s Gingerbread Cupcakes with Whipped Cream Frosting
2 cups cake flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
2 cups dark brown sugar
½ cup melted butter
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
½ cup molasses
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 24 cupcake pans with liners.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, ginger, cinnamon and cloves. Set Aside. Cream butter, oil, dark brown sugar, eggs, milk, and molasses with electric mixer. Add flour mixture to butter mixture a little at a time until blended.
Pour batter into cupcake liners and bake about 15 – 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool in pans on wire racks for 2 minutes and then remove from pans.
When completely cool frost with Whipped Cream Frosting.
Whipped Cream Frosting
1 cup butter
5 cups powdered sugar
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Beat butter with electric mixer. Alternately add powdered sugar and whipping cream until smooth and frosting reaches desired consistency. Add more or less cream if necessary. Stir in vanilla.
9. Who would you most like to cook for?
Oprah Winfrey – I would love to just meet her and because she loves food, bake a great dish for her. She is such a phenomenal woman!
10. Do you enjoy dining out on your free time? What is your favorite type of cuisine?
I love to dine out. My favorite cuisine is Italian because I love pasta.
11. What features are important to you when selecting a Chef Coat? (particular fabric, style, sleeve length, pockets)
Color is the most important feature for me. I don’t like the traditional white chef coat and love colors like red and pinks. I also like black piping and soft fabrics.
12. Are you familiar with Chefuniforms.com?
Yes. My favorite chef item is the Women’s Traditional Fit Chef Coat with Piping, style # 83315. I had bought from you guys earlier in the year and got 2 colors: True Red with Black and Pink Lady with Black. I like the embroidery done.
~Her experience and advice~
13. How long have you been a chef and where did you study?
2 years ago when I started my baking company. I did not go to Culinary school but learnt from my mom and I also take classes during the year.
14. What education or experience would you recommend for aspiring chefs?
Keeping current with trends. There are always new things to learn like for example, I took a few classes to help me perfect my skills: Modeling Chocolate class by Award Winning Food Network cake designer Lauren Kitchens, Classes at The International Sugar Art Collection by Nicholas Lodge and at craftsy.com.
15. What would you recommend as far as on-the-job training?
Having consistency with your ingredients. I make Apple Cinnamon cupcakes and the apples have to be cut the same way or else I will produce a different result and my cupcakes will not turn out the same way as it has done before.
16. What is your greatest challenge in getting the ingredients you need?
I like to use Seasonal ingredients all the time but my greatest challenge is getting them out of season when my customers are asking for them and I have to purchase them from international sources instead of my local markets. I prefer buying from them.
17. Do you try to experience your competitors’ food? Do you ever get ideas from them?
Yes. So many people are in the baking industry and I don’t see my competitors as competitors because everyone has a sweet tooth and a lot of bakers have their own niches so as an industry together, we can satisfy many consumers. I personally have a sweet tooth and always eat from them as well and get ideas from other chefs on Instagram.
18. Do you think it is important to visit the markets rather than just have standard orders?
Yes. It is important to always use local produce in your dishes.
19. How do you test a new recipe without putting it on the permanent menu?
I use my brother and boyfriend to try new recipes and get feedback from them and they are very objective too! I then make adjustments as necessary.
20. How do chefs use technology in their day to day operations?
I use social media a lot and get orders via email to my phone as well as from Facebook. I also use new techniques via looking at videos on YouTube. I use conversion charts online to get my measurements verified as well as in the kitchen, I use a tool called The Fondant Mat which helps roll out the fondant easier.
21. What phone apps do Chefs use in their day to day?
I only use social media.
~2014 and The Future~
22. What dining trends do you see taking place in 2014?
People want organic fresh ingredients more in their food and also expect the same in pastries as well.
23. How has the revolution to eat healthy influenced you as a Chef?
I have never grown up like that and it is a difficult thing to implement in baking. People have asked me for sugar free and gluten free products but I don’t do it because it is not my area of expertise but I have been thinking about it more and will probably learn about it and test a few products down the road.
24. What do you think of “Green Kitchens?” Is it realistic to outfit your kitchens to be environmentally friendly?
It is great but not realistic right now. If it got easier to implement, then a lot of chefs would move in that direction. Whoever does it, I highly commend them.
25. How does Social Media play a role for Chefs today?
It puts me in direct contact with my customers and I am able to build better relationships with them. I am also able to network with other chefs whom I would not normally meet. It also raises the bar and pushes me to make better products as well from ideas I see posted from other chefs.