ChikaLicious, 10 Years Strong

Serious Eats interviewed Chef Chika Tillman of ChikaLicious Dessert Bar and Dessert Club. In a sea of bakeries serving high-quality food, it’s inevitable that most of them will fail. Chef Tillman makes her operations look like a piece of cake. Here’s her take on ChikaLicious’ longevity and success:

“It’s probably because I’m the owner, the chef, the investor, and I’m the one working all the time. I don’t have to get paid! I just have to serve good food. But if you hire the chef, the chef has to get paid. The waiter has to get paid. I’m just one cook. Cooking is not the only thing you have to do as the owner but, in the end, the other part is, “How can I make a dessert that I believe in, and then get the customer to believe me?”

When asked about whether her focus was on the menu during the opening stage, “the best part is following the seasons and what’s the freshest; I go to the market and think about what I want to make, because we don’t have the space to store and so don’t carry a lot! So every day, things are fresh. We are very small—only two chefs with no waiters—so we don’t have a middleman between the customer and I myself can explain the dessert I’m serving.”

Chef Tillman claims the focus has always remained the same. “With more customers we have to work harder, but I think I shouldn’t make any detour or shortcuts. It’s always, ‘Don’t touch too much, but don’t be lazy with a dessert’.”

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