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Conversations with Heather Nadeau

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Nadeau.

Hi Heather, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My mom still laughs to this day because she swore I would grow up hating the kitchen. So where to start… I graduated college with a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design and Fine Arts but couldn’t find a job in 2003. So I followed my brother into the military. There I met my husband in Tampa FL when we were stationed with the Air Force at MacDill AF Base. We both worked in communications and went on after our commitments to work with Raytheon, a DOD contractor. I traveled around the country for a bit installing and configuring network equipment but always felt that wasn’t my true passion. It’s 200% where my husband belongs but not me. I needed to get back to art. At that time, cake shows were a BIG thing (think Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, etc) so I looked into the culinary school at the Art Institute because “why not?”. But between a full time job, school, and finding out I was pregnant, school had to be the thing to give. I only made it half way through my program learning the basics and getting my ServSafe certification. But I was addicted.

Shortly after our son was born, we decided to move to the Raleigh area to be near family and that’s really where my baking took off. I started making cakes for our extended family and our new neighbors and “word of mouth” quickly took over. The social media presence in this area is utterly amazing and there has been no looking back.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
I am in awe of anyone who travels on a smooth road! Definitely trying to figure out how to be a mom and start to grow my passion was a rough job. I had our daughter shortly after finding our home in Cary and I was trying to take on 7,8, sometimes more cakes a week and I realized I couldn’t continue that pace.

I have always just baked from my home and so learning when and how to say “no” to an order was a struggle at the beginning. And also learning how to really value and put a dollar amount on your time. I think a lot of home bakers and individuals starting out have that issue.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I love to create specialty cakes, especially ones out of the norm. A LOT of my cakes are bold and bright in color but every once in a while I get to do something girly and frilly with fresh flowers. I love finding ways to include a favorite character or color too. A lot of cake artists rely on printed edible paper for images and toppers and I sometimes use that as well. But if and when I can, I like to create those pieces from scratch. Painting with food coloring and vodka for a lot of my pieces I feel sets me apart a little from all the amazing bakers we have in the area.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
You have to take time for yourself and find your balance or you can burn yourself out. Limiting myself on orders through the week has allowed me to continue my volunteer work in the area which I also love. I have been able to work with the elementary school PTA and the King’s Park Cake Ministry for years now.

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