Keisha Hill,Gleaner Writer
Years after hanging up her apron, Deborah Dianne Smith is back to doing what she loves. Dianne Creations is her Atlanta-based specialty cake and gourmet dessert company, founded by the self-taught cake designer. Her one-of-a kind creations have turned heads at numerous events in Atlanta, Miami, Houston, New York, and now back home to add a delightful and delicious way to make any party or event special and memorable.
From an early age, Smith started developing her skills as an entrepreneur. From selling mangoes picked from the trees in her backyard to her classmates at Trafalgar Prep to baking scrumptious novelties, including cakes and pastries for her school family at Meadowbrook High School, Smith was smitten.
"I was known for selling cakes in high school, cheesecake, marble cake you name it. But what I did not know was how to ice the cake. All I knew was that I had a good business and I was selling plain cake!" Smith told Flair.
Perhaps she received her entrepreneurial skills from her parents, Judy and Byron Smith, who were entrepreneurs operating their own business while she was growing up. But she emphasised that she just loved to cook and to be in the kitchen with her mother.
"Mommy baked religiously from scratch, chocolate or rum cake and, of course, bread pudding. She didn't have to ask me to be in the kitchen with her - I wanted to be there. Many times it was spoilt that not even the cat would eat it. But I never gave up because I wanted to learn," she explained.
At the age of 13, Smith had her own thriving cake and pastry business and even developed a name for her venture - D. Smith Cakes and Pastries. Her father, she said, helped her to make business cards and her business grew. So energised was Smith at this age that she held bake sales at her family home in Havendale and invited her family friends for a few hours to, of course, purchase and sample her delectable cakes and pastries.
After high school, Smith jetted off to Atlanta to study, and for some time hung up her apron and stayed out of the heat of the kitchen. She studied telecommunications and network management at Devry University and then joined KIDS II as a sales coordinator for Walmart. Despite the hectic schedule at her office, she and her co-workers always found the time to bake treats for each other.
"It was a very casual and fun environment. We would bake and carry items to work and that's where my passion for baking was reawakened. My co-workers always came to my desk because they knew I had something tasty and delicious to offer them," Smith said.
So her cake-baking hobby moved from merely just baking goodies for her co-workers to persons spreading the word on her creative ability, and the rest, as they say, is history. "I planned baby showers and other events at the office. One of my co-workers was having a baby shower and I decided to make a two-tier cake for the event. It was a huge hit and things took a turn for the better," recalls Smith.
embrace the idea
Interestingly, she didn't even charge to make the cakes. However, by Christmas of 2011, she decided to embrace the idea of having her own cake and pastry business. Smith resigned from her job and went full speed ahead and started Deborah Dianne Creations.
"The demand and market pushed me in this direction. I have a natural knack for it and I also believe a cake should be the central part of every celebration, which is why we stop at nothing to make sure our cakes and desserts are not only beautiful, but also delicious," Smith said.
Fast-forward two years later and her commitment doesn't stop at making delicious desserts. She is equally passionate about giving back to the community and does so through the Deborah Dianne Kids Foundation, an organisation established to help underprivileged youth in Jamaica and the Caribbean. She is also a member of The Icing Smiles Organization and has created several cakes for children suffering from critical life-threatening illnesses.
To view some of the delectable creations by Deborah Dianne Creations, visit www.deborahdianne.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Deborah-Dianne-Creations
See Thursday's Food for more information and pics on Deborah Dianne Creations.