Oh do we have a delectable post for you today… Our featured Tastemaker is Tamara Eckles of Jem of the South, a dessert media company. Yes, dessert – as in cookies, candies, cakes and SO much more. Tamara, is an expert in sweet treats and events revolving around them!
This past fall, we attended the Black Southern Belle Collective, where we met Tamara (who’s just as sweet as her desserts!) and we knew we had to share a bit about her and her devotion to desserts with all of you. Plus, not only is she a southern entrepreneur, she’s a neighbor of ours, just north of the city. We know you’ll enjoy this little taste into the life of a dessert enthusiast, who’s made a career out of her passion.
Tamara has been baking since she was a teen and began Jem of the South in 2010 as a way to share her creativity through baking. This adventure has led to her own radio show, hosting dessert events, producing dessert guides and her soon-to-be-launched first cookbook, “Let’s Have Brunch!”
1. Three words that describe your culinary point of view?
Classic, doable desserts.
2. Would you please share a little about your favorite project to date?
My favorite and most challenging project to date is my first cookbook. I am self publishing and I’m doing just about everything. Recipe development, styling and photography. I’ve learned in this process that I can do more than I thought I could ever do with my business!
3. What’s the source(s) of your inspiration?
I find inspiration in so many places. Starting Jem of the South I was inspired by both of my grandmothers. But as I’ve grown my business over the last 7 years I’ve been inspired by both of my parents and my brother and many other creatives out in the social media landscape.
4. Name three people (alive or dead) you’d invite to your dream dinner party…
I’d invite both of my grandmothers so they could see the dream come to life that was inspired by them. I can’t think of a third person.
5. A piece of/type of food (favorite sweet?! :-)) you couldn’t live without?
I couldn’t live without ice cream. I love it and eat it almost every night!
6. Do you follow a particular set of rules when creating recipes – how do they work for you?
When I’m working on recipes I really follow what my heart says. I don’t follow a certain trend. I like classic recipes and also recipes that can actually be made in someone’s kitchen. I like being adventurous too, but I also ask myself before I put a recipe on my website, would this recipe be something I’d make if I didn’t have my website? If it seems over the top or unrealistic, then I don’t put it on the site.
7. Trending: What is something you are currently “into” and something you are “over?” In regards to cooking/food…
That’s a good question. I’m into baking breads from scratch. I’m into bread baking every year and I’ve yet to bake as much bread as I’d like to. Oh and making candy. I love making candy. Not really over anything because there is always a way to make something that is old new again.
8. What would be the one thing you would have if you were stranded on a deserted island?
Is there wifi? LOL! Okay, I’d need my bible, pictures of my loved ones and an unlimited supply of ice cream.
9. Please share a piece of advice you’d offer to someone looking to break into your industry.
I’d say stay true to your style and the goals you are wanting to accomplish. Some may want to open bakeries, others may want to write and develop recipes. Do what you feel is right or works for you and don’t let someone else veer you in a direction that isn’t the one you want to go into.
Three cheers for ice cream! Ha! We love Tamara’s favorite treat and are all about a little scoop to put an end cap on a busy day. And we must give kudos to Tamara for keeping it real and accessible. Y’all – check out her Instagram and tell us you can exit uninspired. It’s impossible! Oh my, those peach tarts, homemade marshmallows, sweet potato donuts… what?!?
THANK YOU Tamara for allowing us to tap into your sweet world. At least enjoying your lovely photographs and lusting over the recipes won’t give us a cavity :-)) Looking forward to more treats this year!