Spotlight on Professional Black Women- Interview With Chef Tracey Williams

Interview with Chef Tracey Williams

Chef Tracey E. Williams, a resident in Atlanta, GA, has made her name well known. Tracey who is originally from New Jersey, says she enjoys cooking both Northern and southern style cuisines. Chef started her cooking career while serving in the US military at the age of 20. Even as a child, Tracey also loved cooking with her favorite teacher, her mother. After serving in the military, she opened Tracey’s Smack Ya Momma Desserts and Blessed & Highly Flavored Catering and DJ Services . Although Tracey has not had any "formal" training she is still by far a phenomenal chef and her work speaks for itself. Tracey refers to herself as "self-trained" and she makes loving and going after your passion a "piece of cake".

In addition to her catering businesses, Tracey is a personal chef and also owns and operates Eye on the Prize resume' development firm and she's also the Head Chef at Taste of S.U.T. which is a social and community networking organization with a strong emphasis on community service goals and objectives.

Recently AGTR sat down with Chef Tracey for a brief interview and this is what she had to say:

AGTR: Did you grow up cooking? What made you decide to get started in this industry?

Chef Tracey: I started cooking while serving in the military. I would cook for my battalion and this is where the bulk of my training came from. I decided to go into this industry because I simply have a passion for cooking.

AGTR: Did you have any formal training or attend culinary school?

Chef Tracey: Actually no, I received the bulk of my training in the military and I'm what you call a self-trained chef. I'm just very good at what I do and my work speaks for itself.

AGTR: What's the best piece of advice you'd give to a novice?

Chef Tracey: Create simple recipes and use note cards. The internet also has a wealth of knowledge and a great resource for quick and easy cooking tips.

AGTR: What was the largest event you have to cater? Was it challenging?

Chef Tracey: Well get ready for an ear-full...One day a woman called me out of the blue and said she needed an emergency caterer because her's had miraculously disappeared. So I told the woman that I would be more than happy to help her. After getting all the details about the event initially the woman had failed to tell me that the event was for 350 people and it was the very next day. So, with no help beside my 11 year old daughter, I made it happen and everyone at the event seemed really pleased. I pulled it off! 

AGTR: What made you choose catering vs. becoming a chef?

Chef Tracey: In catering I like the feel of being right there with my customers and to see the look on their faces when they bite into my food, their smiles are priceless to me and makes all my efforts worthwhile. 

AGTR: What do you look for in your partners or employees?

Chef Tracey: They have to have basic life skills and common sense. Experience is also very important and they must have a car!

AGTR:What kinds of challenges have you faced being an African American woman in this industry?

Chef Tracey: Well actually I haven't had any real challenges in that sense. I cater to all people and I get the same respect and treatment as I give out. 

AGTR: Chef if anyone wants to reach you, how can they go about doing so?

Chef Tracey: Well I'm on Facebook SweetsChef Tracey Williams and my website will be coming shortly.

In 2008, she created a cake masterpiece called "Tracey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Chocolate Cake." This cake has become her best seller among family, friends and colleagues. Other flavors include her Lavender Velvet Cupcake, Sweet Potato Cupcake and Oreo Cookie Cupcake. "My Orange Crush & Vanilla Cream Cupcake pairs up beautifully with the likes of Orange Muscat," says Chef Williams. Chef has also made her cupcake bouquets a huge hit.

Chef Tracey’s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Caramel Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Baking time- 35 minutes
Pan- 9 inch pan        
The Cake
 2 cups All Purpose flour or Cake Flour
2 cups Sugar
1 tsp Baking soda
¼ tsp Salt
1 cup Butter
1/3 cup Unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
½ cup Whole Milk
1 ½ tsp Vanilla  
6 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (for assembly of cake)               
Directions for Cake
1. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan combine butter, cocoa, and water.
3. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat.
5. With an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture into the dry mixture until thoroughly blended.
6. Add eggs, milk, and vanilla.
7. Beat for 1 minute, pour batter into the prepared pans.
8. Place chocolate cake in oven to bake for suggested time or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.      
Peanut Butter Frosting
1 cup butter (softened to room temperature)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Directions for Frosting
1. Cream butter and peanut butter together.
2. Add half the powdered sugar and blend.
3. Blend in milk and vanilla.
4. Add remaining powdered sugar.
5. Stir until smooth and well blended.      
Chocolate Sauce (to be poured over cake)
6 Peanut Butter Cups
3 TBSP whole milk
Directions for chocolate sauce
Melt peanut butter cups in a saucepan along with the milk
Stir vigorously until you get a smooth texture-set aside
Caramel Sauce (to be poured over cake)
1 Cup of Caramel pieces
3 TBSP whole milk
Directions for caramel sauce
Melt peanut butter cups in a saucepan along with the milk
Stir vigorously until you get a smooth texture-set aside
Assembling the Cake
Frost the 2-3 layer cake with the Peanut Butter Frosting
Cut the 6 peanut butter cups into small pieces
Place pieces on top of the cake-covering the cake completely
Pour the prepared chocolate sauce over the cake allowing the sauce to run down the sides of the cake
Pour the caramel sauce over the cake allowing the sauce to run down the sides of the cake making an alternate design-SEE PHOTO
Decorate the bottom of the cake with chocolate frosting for design factor
Place cake in the freezer for about a half hour for “setting”

Tracey's Famous Cupcake Bouquets

Posted By:Angie B

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