We recently chatted with Stephanie Maier of Just A Dash, and we are so excited to introduce you to her. Read on to learn all about her and her dessert business – she’s as sweet as her cakes!
Photo Credit: Rebekah Jule Photography
Where are you originally from? And how long have you been in Portland?
I have been in Portland since I was 10 except while attending culinary school in NY.
What is your favorite thing about Portland?
The natural beauty of Oregon will forever be in my heart. I draw so much inspiration from all of the beauty from the coast, mountains, and forests. Portland is a great place for creative freedom and expression.
What is your favorite spot or thing to do in Portland?
I love trying new restaurants and exploring nature.
How long have you been working as a professional pastry chef?
I graduated culinary school in 2007 and worked my way through restaurants, bakeries, and catering companies. I started Just a Dash in the Spring of 2015 and have continued to grow since.
Photo credit: Stephanie Jarstad Photography
What people/training/experiences/opportunities led you to this career path?
My mother and grandmother Diane had the most impact on my love for food. I grew up with these two women who filled my life with parties, cooking, baking, and hosting. I applied to culinary school and was asked to start 12 days after getting my acceptance letter. I rushed off to New York to attend the Culinary Institute of America for Baking and Pastry Arts. The culinary arts will always draw me more than baking but I felt there was more for me to learn because baking is such an art and science. I did my externship in Colonial Williamsburg at the Williamsburg Inn and met some amazing people who taught me a lot about food and life. I came back to Oregon in 2007 after graduating. The food scene was really exploding so it was a great place to start.
How would you describe the importance of your role & why do you feel a couple should hire a professional bakery for their wedding day?
Wedding cakes and dessert tables are one of the highlights of a wedding besides watching two lovebirds tie the knot. I always suggest a couple choose what they really love for their wedding day. It doesn’t have to be cake. There are so many options! My job is to wow your guests and delight their taste buds!
What is the best part of your job?
When I get a couple that is super excited about dessert or cake it makes my job so much more fun! Those are my favorite couples! I really just love showing love through my art and filling bellies with tasty treats.
Photo credit: A Place In Time Photography
What do you find most challenging about your specific line of work or weddings in general?
Transporting! It is so stressful but beyond worth it. Setting everything up and seeing it all together fills me with so much joy!
Do you work solo or do you have a studio and/or team?
Mostly solo but I have a crew of friends that help out as needed when the weeks get really packed.
What do you attribute to your success as a wedding dessert maker? What do you think makes you stand apart from others in your field?
My flavor profiles and flower placement sets me apart. I have a very large menu so you are sure to find something to please everyone!
At what point in the wedding planning process should clients hire you?
We suggest more that 6 months out. The sooner the better.
Photo Credit: Lauren Miles Photography
Where do you draw inspiration? Are there any current trends you are excited about?
From everything! I am really into the colors and textures that are being brought into the wedding cake world.
What is the most important thing that couples should ask someone in your profession before hiring them?
Ask them about their history. See where they are coming from and make sure it is a good fit for you. Everyone has different wants and needs so make sure you find a baker that you really click with and offers what you are looking for.
What is your best advice for wedding clients?
Choose a dessert you love! You will be so much more excited if it’s something you love. Cake, pie, donuts, ice cream, churros – there are so many options! Don’t feel like you have to be traditional and fit inside a box. Oh, and don’t eat year-old cake. Ask your baker about an anniversary cake that can either be ordered at the same time or on your anniversary.
What other local wedding professionals are currently inspiring you?
I am incredibly inspired by Flower Friends, Letters & Dust, Sewell Sweets, White Pepper, The Hive Catering, and Stephanie Jarstad Photography.
Photo credit for featured image: Hazelwood Photography
This Vendor Shout-Out was curated by Dana Barbar, The Art of Weddings Portland Content Manager.