Meet Maggie O'Brien of Velvet Dessert
tell us about your products. where they are made. who makes them. favorite product features.
At Velvet Dessert we make from-scratch, classic French pastries with unique flavor profiles, fresh produce, and high quality ingredients. Maggie is a classically trained French pastry chef who along with her mom, opened a shared kitchen space in Lakeview.
tell us about your connection to chicago. your neighborhood.
We love being a part of the Chicago food scene. It is such a diverse city for food and our customers and so encouraging when it comes to trying new things.
what do you love about your business, your industry.
Again, we love how diverse the Chicago food industry is currently. We also love how collaborative it is as well. Owning and working out of a shared kitchen has brought me great new business just by working with my fellow kitchen users.
tell us about your design inspiration - space, smells, colors, textures - your nana's cooking.
We love anything French. We love the rustic nature of fresh baked pastry, flaky and golden brown. Or more modern and elegant tarts
what advice do you have for other creative entrepreneurs?
To collaborate and ask for help! It for sure takes a village so accept help from friends, family, and other entrepreneurs.
share a favorite quote, a mantra.
Fake it til you make it!
surprise us with your secret talent, fact, etc.
I have anosmia, which means I have zero sense of smell. It can definitely be tricky or even a little hazardous in this career, but I have learned to rely on my training and my gut but also a nice list of trusted taste testers.
what's the most common question you get about your business?
“How is it working with your mom?” Some people can't imagining working so closely with a family member. I couldn't do it any other way. We compliment each other very well and are usually on the same side of a conflict.
tell us about your process for making + creating.
I love to play around with flavors. I typically like to incorporate 3 flavor profiles into a dessert and generally build texture and appearance around flavor!
name 3 local makers/brands that inspire you and why.
Too hard to answer! I usually have to restrict myself from leaving my booth at Covet Market because I want to buy all the amazing things all of these local makers have to offer.
what is the best advice you've ever been given and how has it shaped you and your business?
That you are never finished learning. You can learn something new everyday. I try to keep that in mind regularly when working. What can I learn? What new technique can I try? What new flavors can I pair together? I read cook books constantly to learn more from other makers.
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