Decadent bites / how to videos

The person behind the chef jacket or jazzy hat!

The person behind the chef jacket or jazzy hat!

Happy Sunday evening everyone!   I decided today I wanted to write a blog post that was less "buy now" and more of "here's a little more about me."  

  • I love bright colors - love purple and fuchsia!
  • I don't like getting dressed up and my first question will always be, "Can I wear my chef jacket?"
  • I'm an extreme extrovert.  A stranger is just someone I haven't met yet or gotten to say "howdy" to yet.  ("Howdy" is my favorite greeting for the last few months.)
  • I'm a life-long single parent, but officially an empty-nester since my daughter, Devin flew the coup over 16 years ago.  (If you are trying to do the math -- she's 34.)
  • I grew up in Illinois, Upstate NY (outside of Albany not NYC), Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
  • I still have a mild Northeastern accent.
  • I am the youngest of 2 children.  
  • I don't like to cook.  I have a mini George Foreman countertop grill, microwave, and a small frying pan I used to cook everything in.  The oven -- that's for baking only and far too much work for real food. 
  • I can hunker down and bake or get the most mundane tasks done without music or 97% of the time without anyone prodding me.
  • I call to chat (and check on) my "29 and holding" (his age disclaimer, not mine) dad at least once a week unless I get sucked into too many Zooms.
  • I don't like being hot although in 4 years, I have acclimated to NC summers fairly well.  You'll find me hibernating in AC on my MacBook Pro or watching Netflix, if there's not worth venturing out into the blistering sun to do.
  • I drive my mom's 2004 Honda CR-V, because it's reminds me of her and makes me feel like she is always with me, its great for hauling stuff AND it's paid for. 
  • I love watching action movies, romantic comedies, or sitcoms on Netflix.  I don't like scary/horror movies, supernatural/para-normal, sci-fi, super violent, or war movies.
  • I enjoy sitting in the car in a parking lot catching up on email, responding to social media and just soaking in some vitamin D.
  • My favorite candy is/are the mini unwrapped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and unsalted waffle fries from Chick-fil-A with Chick-fil-A dipping sauce!
  • I used to weigh 70 pounds more, but the last 25-30 pounds are being very resistant (Hmmmm, might have to do with the previous bullet).
  • I rejoined the gym because I decided walking wasn't entertaining enough for me.  I love to people watch and exercise is a lot more palatable when there are other people around to see.
  • 6.5 months ago I had total knee replacement on my right knee.  It will still swell a bit and get sore when my Superwoman activities are on overload. However, with my new bionic knee -- I can conquer the Stairmaster for 45 minutes climbing a total of 82 floors!
  • I'm a Leo, detailed-oriented, a planner, and organized.  People either love or hate that about just depends on whether it's working for or against them at that specific moment.
  • Favorite quote from 20 years ago - "Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my behalf."
  • I will be writing a food article for a local digital magazine very soon!
Maria Kemp
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A fancy pen writing Pro-Tips by Chef Maria on graph paper

Pro-Tips Index

Happy 4th of July everyone!  I hope you are enjoying a relaxing day, great food, and a deep appreciation of the freedom we enjoy in this country!

I think I've adequately recovered from all the hustle and bustle of getting all the July 4th orders out!  But as always, this upcoming week is full of a flurry of activity and preparations.  

I decided to keep the blog light and breezy today because the popularity of the Pro-Tips has been phenomenal!  Pro-Tip #17 just dropped this morning!

There are now several ways you can keep learning: 
  1. A new "Mastering the Details" video posts on YouTube each Sunday night at 6:00pm EST.   Subscribe to our channel and turn your notifications on.
  2. Enroll now in one the the Private Virtual Baking Experiences.  The classes can be held via Zoom or on-site at your kitchen location!
  3. Follow Beyond Decadence on social media for the daily 8:00am EST Pro-Tips!  Or if you miss one, click over to "How-to-videos & Pro-Tips" on our website for the weekly recap complete with links.  

Happy Birthday America!!!🇺🇸🥧🍰🧨🌭

Maria Kemp
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Maybe just a little Grand Marnier or Kahula....

Maybe just a little Grand Marnier or Kahula....

Happy HOT Sunday evening everyone!  I love the quietness of Sunday afternoons as it slowly slips into Sunday evening. 

Last week I had a 11.5 or 12, Zoom calls which felt like an all-time record.  By the time I finished my last one Friday evening at 6:30pm, my brain was fried, my eyes were red, and my mental capacity had left the building.  

In between all the Zooms, I managed to get orders prepped for Saturday.  As I was in the middle of preparing Margarita Cheesecakes, the tequila well ran dry!  I should have  had plenty to get through the final orders if only there wouldn't have been a "bobble" which sent a pre-measured cup of the liquid silver running all over the counter and eventually soaking my left sneaker!  So in the middle of making the cheesecakes, I had to run to the ABC Store to restock.  While I was there I wandered around and looked at all the liqueur flavors and pondered what would go with the excess of lemons in my fridge.  That was when my eyes fell upon Bacardi Lemon!  It's rum kissed with lemon!  I thought perfect!  So I bought a little airplane size bottle and tested it!  It gave the creamy lemon cheesecake a little extra "something" without being overpowering.  I shared some with my neighbors and asked for their feedback.  The yellow post-it is what one of them returned with the empty container - it made me smile from ear to ear!  

I also picked up some small bottles of Kahula and Grand Marnier.  They both would pair really well with a chocolate cheesecake. 

In case you are wondering, "Does everything you make have alcohol in it?!"  No, definitely not!  I do have about 10 different liquors in my inventory, but not everything is the right fit for most recipes.  These just happened to be the perfect fit for Father's Day, July 4th and summer. 

This week Mini Strawberry Shortcake Kits and the Bacardi Lemon Cheesecake are joining the line-up!   

Dates and things to keep in mind:

  1. Ordering cut-off for free local pickup at Pita Pit will close on Thursday, July 1 at 9:00am.  Order pickup with take place on Saturday, July 3 anytime after 12pm until they close. 
  2. We only ship via UPS Monday - Wednesday. 
  3. "Mastering the Details" videos on our YouTube channel.
  4. Daily Pro-Tips on any of our social media channels. 
  5. Our Private Virtual Baking Experiences are now open for enrollment!  

We look forward to serving you soon!




Maria Kemp
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Get on board the baking tips train!

Get on board the baking tips train!

Many of you may not know in my former professional life teaching a plethora of software classes was at times part of my full-time responsibilities or something I did on a part-time basis.  Then as the years went by and my love for baking re-emerged, the curriculum shifted from applications to sweets.  

Really I think about it, I think I've truly just come full circle from the days of learning to bake with my Mom in our small kitchen in Upstate NY.   So where is all this headed in 2021?  Well, that answer is actually very easy!  As I said before I'm one of those anomalies who actually gets a thrill out of public speaking and being in front of the camera.  Now that doesn't mean everything goes smoothly every time or I don't get nervous, but big deal!  It makes me real, human, relatable and gives me something to improve on next time.  

I love baking so much I want everyone to feel more comfortable and confident in the kitchen.  Even in all the years I've been baking as a hobby or professionally, I learn something new every single day.  So I'm not afraid to share some of my coolest tips and tricks with you all, because I think I really have like a bazillion!

Currently, I have Pro-Tips scheduled to publish on all my main social media channels each morning.  And on YouTube, I have my "Mastering the Details" videos scheduled to publish every Sunday evening.  They are all FREE, FREE, FREE, so please share them with your friends and groups.  

Before this month is over, I will be releasing a completely redesigned private virtual baking experiences aka "classes".  Now these WON’T be FREE, FREE, FREE.  The baking experiences will be ideal for individuals, friends, groups or corporate clients looking for a unique team-building activity.  I have an entire notebook of class topics I'm narrowing down. 

Here's another opportunity for your voice to be heard!

  1. Would you prefer a 1.5 hour - 2 hour class finishing in 1 session OR
  2. Would you like to learn something more in-depth over 2 different sessions?
  3. Would you like a class during the day, evening or weekend?

The Margarita Cheesecake will remain on the menu through the end of June!  Some loved the saltiness in the cheesecake, but some didn't so please be sure to let me know your preference when you order. 

Can't wait to read you feedback on the upcoming classes!  Happy Father's Day to all the papas!


Maria Kemp
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You know Father's Day is 1 week away, right?!

You know Father's Day is 1 week away, right?!

Welcome Sunday night!!!   I've actively been working on mending my workaholic ways, so I clap loudly for myself with every step I make to actually take time off.  Saturday I went to Camp North End for the first time with my friend.  It was a nice little get a way and experience.  We sat outside eating snacks enjoying a breeze that FINALLY wasn't humid.  Getting rained on wasn't even that bad.  I managed to relax in the breeze although my iPhone still buzzed with notifications that were all work-related.    

I've already recorded an entire series of videos for the "Mastering the Details" YouTube series.  As I get more efficient with managing my time, I realized what else is there to do when the kitchen is clean and I'm waiting for things to cool?!  Why not record videos!  I will release them slowly so viewers can watch them without ever feeling like they need to binge watch to get caught up.  Like I said, in my FB post last week the videos are unscripted, unedited, and in real-time.  This way you will know EXACTLY how long it takes to do whatever I'm demonstrating.  

Now, back to Father's Day!  I don't have pictures of the actual desserts I will be spotlighting for Father's Day, so I'll use a stock photo with a note to that effect so I can get the website updated this evening.  THANK YOU to all who responded to my poll request!  I did get quite a few votes on what should be on the Father's Day menu:  Cheesecake and Summer Pie (Fruit/Berries) were tied!  My brain is spinning with flavor combinations infused with Tequila, Maple/Bacon, and Bourbon.

Make sure you subscribe to the Beyond Decadence social media updates or our mailing list.  I will definitely post later this evening and send out an email blast tomorrow morning with the final menu.  Shipping will still take place Monday - Wednesday, but the free pickup days at Pita Pit will shift a little (Thursday AND Saturday) to accommodate picking up as close to Sunday as possible.

YouTube requires videos safe for kids to have the comments disabled, so feel free to post any comments here.

Happy Sunday evening! 

Maria Kemp
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Mastering the Details - Learn "how to" video baking series

Mastering the Details - Learn "how to" video baking series

I believe I originally started doing Facebook Live instructional videos at the beginning of the pandemic.  They were an awesome way to give back, stay connected with my fans, and entertain those in need of a friendly face NOT currently sheltering in place with them.  Then the Facebook Lives grew into a Sunday afternoon "Bake Along with Chef Maria" event/series.  All the while, I developed private baking classes teaching a variety of topics to individuals of various skill levels and ages.  It was a lot of morphing (aka "pivoting"), but it kept Beyond Decadence buzzing along.

After I started doing the neighborhood pop-up events, shipping nationwide, the lives and classes dwindled.  Since eliminating pop-up events and focusing purely on online sales, I still felt like something was missing.  I'm that weirdo that LOVES public speaking and teaching regardless of what media it comes in.  I've done Toastmasters and know the value of planning your speech, but I get a thrill out of trusting God to give me the exact words to vocalize from the dictionary swirling around in my head while the video is recording.  And yes, I'm a former IT geek, but I don't have time to master editing video, so what you see is exactly how it came out.

Here's the crux of my video strategy -- if you aren't content with the 10,000 feet view/explanation behind the science of baking then my videos are for you!  I'll SHOW you the reason behind the techniques without making you yawn AND in 3 to 6 minutes. 

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel and pickup some new tips and tricks to make your baking more successful regardless of what's on the menu.

Here's the first video in the series "How to measure flour

Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Maria Kemp
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