Maker Profile: Teresa Floyd, Now, Forager
Meet Teresa Floyd, writer, photographer, pastry chef, and creator of Now, Forager. Her blog is a collection of seasonal recipes paired with gorgeous photos that will inspire you. No matter the time of year, Teresa has got you covered with creative and drool-worthy recipes. She chats with us about flavor inspiration, her love of chocolate, and early baking memories.
Where did you get your experience?
I received formal training through Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts pastry program; while also working for small pastry and chocolate shops. After completing the program, I spent some time working for The Ritz Carlton luxury hotel and resort in Florida. Eventually, we moved to Kansas City where I was able to focus on chocolate work with Christopher Elbow Chocolates.
Christopher Elbow is so wonderful! What was life like inside a chocolate-lover’s paradise?
It was pretty much what you would imagine. Chocolate heaven. I loved the team that I worked with at the time and learned beautiful techniques in bon bon making. Kansas City is fortunate to have this chocolate company in their city. It truly is one of the best.
Since moving here, what has been your favorite thing that you’ve discovered in or about this city?
I love that it’s a “little big city.” You can find almost anything here and there are plenty of good restaurants and bakeries. Plus, the countryside is just a short drive away to visit orchards and to find the freshest produce. It’s a sweet spot in the Midwest.
What flavors inspire you?
There are so many, but anything to do with spices will usually excite my creativity. There are thousands of spices in the world with just as many ways to use them in pastry and chocolate. It’s an endless source of inspiration as I’m a fan of pastries that are aromatic. It brings in other sensory experience while eating.
When did you create your blog, Now, Forager? What is your vision for the site?
Now, Forager was created a few years ago as an outlet for me to create pastries while I was working solely with chocolate. Soon after, I began accepting freelance work in food writing and photography and so the blog eventually served as a reference for potential clients. What started as a casual way to create new ideas evolved into something more substantial. The vision for Now, Forager has always been to inspire, share, and grow. It’s a place for pastry and baking lovers to challenge their baking skills while also finding new ways to use seasonal ingredients. I’m excited for some upcoming changes to the blog and expanding that vision to make it more easily accessible to all.
What memories do you have of baking?
Baking was something that I’ve loved from an early age (we’re talking Easy Bake Oven days) and most of my baking memories come from baking disasters in the kitchen. In high school, a friend and I decided to do some late night holiday cookie-making. We rolled out our carefully made sugar cookie dough on a cutting board that was sitting by the kitchen sink, cut out holiday shapes and then intricately decorated them with sugar sprinkles. After they finished baking we couldn’t wait for them too cool and decided to eat them still very warm. We devoured a few of them before our tongues quickly felt like they’d been set on fire. The flavor of fiery jalapeños came through and we drank multiple cups of milk trying to diffuse the burning sensation. We finally figured out that the cutting board we had used contained old jalapeno juice on it from mother’s dinner prep earlier that night.
Ha!! Has this inspired any sweet and spicy treats since then?
It hasn’t, but it surprisingly didn’t turn me off to spicy-sweet combos either!
Do you have any favorite baking tools?
A solid whisk, sturdy spatula, flat sheet pans, bench scraper, and kitchen scale.
What do you listen to in your kitchen?
My go-to is usually something jazzy or French, like Ella Fitzgerald or Burning Peacocks. Cherry Bombe is a staple podcast for me as well when wanting to feel inspired by strong artistic women in the culinary industry.
Are there women in the culinary industry in particular whose work you admire?
More so women who transitioned from the culinary industry to the food photography industry. Nikole Herriott and Aran Goyoaga create the most beautiful work and both were former pastry chefs. Honestly, any woman who works in the culinary world has my utmost admiration. It’s a tough profession with serious demands and requires sacrifice.
How did you first get into photography?
I attended photography classes in college and then continued on with it as a hobby. When food blogs started becoming more common there were a handful of food photographers whose work moved me emotionally. Not something that I expected from food photography at all. It became a window into other possibilities that started to exist within the culinary world.
Are you going to open a bakery so we can stop being sad and hangry every time we see your posts?!
Ha! That’s very kind of you to say, but no. A friend and I fantasized about opening up a doughnut shop together, but that’ll have to wait until we win the lottery. I do love that Kansas City has some great bakeries though; we’re all fed well by them.
What does a perfect weekend look like for you?
This is going to sound corny, but my perfect weekend involves visiting a local orchard and then taking the goods back home to bake something aromatic/stuffed with fruit. Opening windows to allow in plenty of sunshine and good company in the kitchen are a must.
Where is your favorite city to visit?
Any current obsessions you would like to share?
My chocolate obsession is always alive and well. I’m eager to get my hands on a new bean-to-bar book that discusses the American craft chocolate revolution. My early chocolate days started with a bean-to-bar company, in North Carolina, and my fascination with it has never waned. I also have a healthy obsession with food styling props fueled by certain ceramic artists, anything copper that lives in the kitchen, and cookbooks.
What would we do without chocolate! Is there a cookbook you would recommend that everyone needs in their kitchen?
For chocolate, Bittersweet by Alice Medrich. Anything from her will make your chocolate dreams come true. For general baking, Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan is excellent and Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson. Anything Tartine related is going to be a good resource.
If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
The idea of no sleep makes me sad, but I’d have to say spending more time with my husband, cats, and baking.
Thanks, Teresa! We’re so excited to see what you create next.