Interviewed by: Lauran E. Smith | Creative Director for Chicago Black Restaurant Week
Written by: Mary L. Datcher
A published author and young business owner of sweets and pastry company Pizzazzed Plus—Jenesys Harris is making moves. In 2013, her mother launched the company after being laid off from her job; she put her baking skills into a successful venture. But, after a few years of cutting her teeth as an entrepreneur, she decided to hang up her apron. Studying her closely and learning her craft, Jenesys asked her mom if she could continue to run her business.
At 12, Nia Williams is belting out cupcakes, cookies, pies, and cakes under her company—Nia’s Sweet Treats. Her mission is to spread happiness through baking.
Lauran Elle Smith, Creative Director for Chicago Black Restaurant Week, sat down with both Jenesys and Nia to discuss these young pastry chefs’ start in the business.
Jenesys K. Harris
How old are you and how did you get into owning your own business?
I’m 10 years old. My part in BRW is entitle Pizzazzed Plus. At Pizzazzed Plus we dip Oreos, pretzels, rice crispies and a variety of other things. We dip them in chocolate and we can also decorate them to your liking. We use sprinkles, little designs and we also incorporate other treats.
Everybody is very interested in the fact that you’re only 10. How did you get into the business of the sweet treats?
It was originally my mother’s business. When she decided to take a break and retire, I wanted to keep it going. I said I wanted to take over it.
If you had to choose one specific item that people go crazy over from your business, what would that be?
Pretzels are very basic, and they really love them. If they do a full order, they would order them.
How did you learn about Black Restaurant Week?
I learned about it through my mom. I loved the idea and Lauran invited me to be a part of it to spread the word about my business.
How can people find you?
You can find my business on Facebook, Instagram or go to our website: pizzazzedplusbyjenni.com
Tell us about yourself.
I am the founder and co-baker of Nia’s Sweet Treats. We make any treat you can think of–we make cookies, cakes, cake pops, chocolates and fudge.
Since you’re so young, how did you get inspired to get into the business of becoming a pastry chef?
My mom took me to a meeting that I didn’t want to attend. When it was time to leave the meeting, my mom asked me if I wanted to try some pound cake. I tried it and I really wanted to make it.
Out of all of the desserts you make, what is one dessert that is highly requested ?
The banana carmel cake. It’s one of the first cakes I started making that people really liked. It’s actually easy to make. Everybody loves it. You don’t have to like bananas or carmel because my uncle hates bananas but that’s his all-time favorite cake.
How did you hear about Black Restaurant Week?
My dad told me I had an interview with BRW. I also heard about it earlier and it’s a way I would like to help out Black-owned businesses.
Follow on Instagram and Facebook: niasweettreats
Check them out on Chicago Black Restaurant Week’s website: www.chiblackrestaurantweek.com