Buttercream Bakeshop's 11.3k Instagram followers have been salivating over Pastry Chef Tiffany MacIsaac's edible art. From cookies graced with watercolor drawings to wedding cakes that look celeb-ready, it's safe to say we've been counting down the days until the doors swing open likely next week. The bakery is so closely tied to MacIsaac you could even say it's her heart on a cake stand. So, we sat down with her to learn what's in the works.
Where did you grow up and did it impact your career?
I grew up in Hawaii. I'm addicted to passion fruit and I use mango whenever I can. But, as far as shaping my career path, it definitely didn't. Things are super laid back there, and I'm not a super laid-back person. So I'm almost the opposite of the environment I grew up in.
Where did you go?
If I hadn't come to New York, I wouldn't have cooked. I couldn't cook anything before I moved except for omelets and spaghetti.
Your first gig after culinary school was at Union Square Cafe in New York. What did you learn?
That place just cranks. It's one of the busiest restaurants I've ever worked in so I learned how to hustle. It taught me a sense of urgency and I think that's something people lack.
Most recently you worked as the executive pastry chef for Neighborhood Restaurant Group, what other notable career stop shaped you?
Definitely, Crú in the West Village. It was brutally intense, but we all learned so much and so many of us are still friends.
How are you feeling about opening of Buttercream Bakeshop, and what's the story behind the name?
I like to call Buttercream either the best or worst decision I ever made, and we're all going to find out together. The name, it's funny. The last company I worked with would toil over names. I knew I needed to give a name to what I was doing and I was sitting with my husband one day and I was like, 'Buttercream Bakeshop that sounds good, does that sound good to you?' Then, I texted my friend (now partner) Alex and she said, 'yea, it rolls off the tongue.' And that was it.
What are some highlights that will keep customers coming back?
We're going to make ho-hos, rolled up cake dipped in ganache and then chocolate, so it's really fudgy as well as Mallomars, like a cinnamon marshmallow filled with dulce de leche and dipped in chocolate. The thing I'm most excited about is the Cinnascone. We took scone batter, rolled it out, and filled it with cinnamon roll filling. Then we rolled it back up and baked it.
What kind of vibe are you hoping for?
With the ombre floor, the blue espresso machine, some cool chandeliers hanging, it's turned into a modern glam look. I want it to be fun and playful.
You're not going it alone. Who is your partner in crime?
Alexandra Mundry-Till. We met in 2010, she came to me in a sous chef position at Buzz Bakery and we've been together ever since. She's really into wedding cakes. We've titled her lead decorator.
You'll be doing the sweets for Michael Friedman's new restaurant All Purpose next door. What's it been like working with him?
So much fun. We're in what could be 20-year leases, and we're sharing a kitchen, which is kind of unorthodox. But with Mikey, I love him so much; I was so excited to get to do this with him.
What are some desserts we can expect to try there?
The rainbow cake will never leave the menu. We'll also be doing a cookie box.
There's more. The Mandarin Oriental just named you their official wedding pastry chef. How did you land that?
They reached out and were asking for submissions. We went in and did a tasting and we've met with a couple of clients. May is our first one. They're high profile weddings and they want something really over the top and extravagant to fit the venue.
What's something all brides know about choosing a wedding cake?
If you like it, just get it. Who cares? Get what you want. Get what you think is delicious; don't worry about whether it's seasonal or a 'traditional' wedding cake flavor.
What's a hot alternative to a traditional cake right now?
We're doing a lot of pies, and we're doing a shortcake bar with biscuits and different toppings and fillings. Interactive desserts are cool. Lots of macarons and croque-en-bouche too.
Your husband, Kyle Bailey, is also a chef. Who does the cooking at home?
He doesn't cook anything at home, I do the cooking, but we mostly order in.