“You do it for passion, you do it for love.” – Melissa Gray
In this episode, we sit down with Melissa Gray (yes you know her as the founder and artist behind Cakes by Gray) to find out how she started and grew her cake business in Asheville.
Melissa was a long-time food service veteran who decided to follow her passion for pastry and head to culinary school. In the years since, she’s grown to become one of the premier cake artists in Asheville — a city with a booming wedding industry.
We think you’ll love her straight-shooting discussion on being a business owner (and her trifle cake shooters, too).
Note: We chose Melissa to be our cake artist for our own Asheville wedding (happening September 2019!). We love her laid-back personality, innovative cake flavors, and beautiful designs. Plus, she let us eat five cupcakes during our cake tasting, so how could we say anything but yes?
Here’s what you’ll learn:
- How Melissa started and grew her cake business, Cakes by Gray
- The importance of choosing the right business name (and domain name)
- Why Melissa chose to specialize in pastry and not cooking
- The inside scoop of Melissas soon-to-open dessert and cocktail bar, RosaBees
- Melissa’s favorite restaurants and things to do in Asheville, plus the worst days for eating seafood in a restaurant
- Advice for aspiring bakers and why she thinks going to culinary school is crucial
Engaged Asheville (One-stop shop wedding studio where we recorded this podcast)
Melissa’s Favorite Baking Resources:
The Flavor Bible by Karen Page – Melissa uses this book to find the best flavor pairings (it’s how she came up with some of her best buttercream icing-cake combinations like lemon cake with basil icing for example)
Kitchen Aid Mixer – Professional Series 5-Quart (Melissa’s favorite Kitchen Aid, great for serious bakers and meringue lovers)
Kitchen Aid Mixer – Artisan Series (perfect for beginner and home bakers, comes in many different colors)
When talking about seafood and restaurants, we referenced Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
“Half of life is learning what are the eggs and what’s the icing.” – Tony attempting to quote Seth Godin
Melissa’s Favorite Things To Do in Asheville:
Bull & Beggar (for their Seafood Tower and the Lobster Roll)
The Imperial Life (for dancing and cocktails)
The Biltmore Estate
The LaZoom Comedy Tours
And where Melissa goes for the ultimate tattoo experience: Victory Boulevard Tattoo
Music by Commonwealth Choir
To recommend an interviewee, visit MakingItInAsheville.com/podcast