Drawing inspiration from James Lipton (or maybe Will Ferrell playing the part of James Lipton on SNL), we periodically interview someone we find interesting and inspiring. In our second installment, we talk to cupcake cutie Olivia Guerra O’Neal.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am Olivia Guerra O’Neal, owner of Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop.
I have always had a love of baking and as I got older I realized that it was more than a passion, it was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I love creating and baking desserts and watching people’s reaction when they have that first delicious bite of cake. I also love being a part of our customer’s birthdays, weddings, and “just because” celebrations.
What is your “recipe” for success?
My recipe for success is that I truly have a passion for the industry I am in and I work hard to ensure that I have an equally passionate team. All of our staff truly cares about the product we are creating, along with making sure that our customers have a great experience when they come into our shop. We have a very low turnover rate for the restaurant industry and I think it’s because we all love what we do and what Sugar Mama’s stands for.
A rockstar! I recorded music back in the day and have always wanted to have a singing career, lalala!
Your spouse called and his Aunt Edna is in town and coming over for dinner. Quick – what is your go to meal?
I can bake a cake, but cooking is a whole other ballgame for me. With that said, we love Taco Night at the O’Neal household, along with an ice cold Margarita and my famous guacamole.
If your personality was described by a casserole – what would it be?
King Ranch casserole for sure! A little bit spicy, a lot cheesy, and everyone would have a strong opinion about me one way or the other.
Name one kitchen disaster you’ve had.
Just one? The one that comes to mind is the day we opened Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop and I realized that I didn’t know how to run a convection oven. There were lines out the door and we were in over our heads! I called a fellow baker in Las Vegas and she gave me some pointers, and Sandy of Casserole Queen fame spent opening day at Sugar Mama’s saving my behind! The Casserole Queens aren’t just amazing cooks, they’re superheros on the side.
What dish from your childhood brings you the most comfort and why?
My dad makes a soup that he named Hobo Stew. You take all the veggies from the kitchen along with some lean sirloin and cook it over a hot stove for about 8 hours. Hobo Stew and a some crusty San Francisco sourdough makes everything right in the world.
Who was the most fun/interesting person you cooked for?
We’ve had celebrities and notable personalities come through our shop, but I get the most pleasure from baking for my three-year old. He is in love with everything I make and when I watched him eat his first piece of chocolate cake his eyes actually rolled back into his head. It was fantastic and he’s a great eater – from Ethiopian food to Sushi it’s so fun exposing him to new cuisines and he loves them all. The other day he told me he wants to be a chef.
What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Off the top of my head we have roasted red pepper soup, plums, roti, veggie burgers, a bottle of sparkling red and a drawer full of peppers, onions, tomatoes and other yummy veggies.
If someone wrote a book about you, what would the title be?
A Woman and Her Whisk
To learn more about Olivia and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop, visit her website at http://www.sugarmamasbakeshop.com/.