Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefanie Nie.
Hi Stefanie, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I grew up with my grandmother, having a traditional Indonesian upbringing with American values. At a young age, I always sat in the kitchen with her and watched her bake all of these delicious sweets such as Katetong and Spiku, which she always let me have a piece of here and there. Then starting at seven, I developed a passion for cooking that hasn’t stopped. I learned to cook a range of different foods besides Indonesian cuisine since my grandma was still cooking that at the time. I also wasn’t really interested in baking at that point. Eventually, while growing into early adulthood I realized I missed all of those Indonesian treats and overall food. The few Indonesian restaurants we had at the time just didn’t hit the bar compared to grandma’s cooking of course. When she stopped cooking, I asked her to teach me how to make everything she knows so that I could carry on. Then I took it a step further and taught myself new techniques and recipes in regards to baking and dabbled in that. Eventually during the pandemic, I had more time on my hands to hone these skills. One day my father asked me to bake something for my Aunt’s birthday, and I happily obliged. This was a turning point for me. I made her a fresh fruit tart, and during the car ride to deliver it, I had an epiphany that this could be a career for me, given the talent I have and the time and effort that goes into it. This is a great step in sharing my amazing culture with others. Indonesian food is delicious and not well known to most people. I was inspired by my parents and grandparents to share the culture we all grew up with and love. I have a new appreciation for it, and food is a great way of connecting with others.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Like any small business that’s just starting, the obstacles have been abundant ranging from learning how to price my products appropriately, understanding techniques for marketing, and establishing a brand and aesthetic. But the biggest challenge has been trying to share my culture with everyone else. Growing up in Los Angeles, you would believe that the diversity in foods is vast, but my family never took me out to an Indonesian restaurant until I started getting older since there weren’t many, and even then it wasn’t as good as how I had it growing up. I’ve only met one other Indonesian outside of my family as well, so this made me recognize that if even I only met one other Indonesian, how many have others met? It’s probably unlikely that anyone here in America knows about Indonesian culture and the best way to share it is to show people our food. But like most Asian cuisine, our food doesn’t look and sound appetizing when we say things like shrimp paste, black soup, and durian. Along with explaining foods that are different from many others, it’s been a tremendous obstacle of mine to learn how to share my culture with others and help them overlook the “weird” aspects of food.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I bake and specialize in Indonesian desserts and I am most known for making Spiku, a delicious, soft, and buttery cake that melts in your mouth. It is a very popular cake from Indonesia that is a staple in most bakeries, yet not everyone can make it. I am extremely proud of taking on all of my grandma’s recipes for both cooking and baking Indonesian cuisine, taking the time to learn all of the techniques, practice getting the taste to be as authentic as possible, and most importantly having the honor to carry on the traditions and culture for future generations. Having this cultural background sets me apart from all of my peers and makes what I create and sell to be unique.
Alright so before we go can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
Having a more extensive reach to others around the country in knowing what I’m doing and being inspired to learn and take interest in our food would be an enormous benefit to helping me reach my goals. Elevating my social media to have a better audience, spreading through word of mouth, and decent advertising can help me get there.
- Spiku (8×8) – $40
- Lapis Legit (8×8) – $70
- Floral Cupcakes – $50 Dozen
- Meringue Cookies – $10/$15
- Sambal – $8/jar