When something becomes a trend, it usually means that a disruption is coming soon. For the pastry industry, that time might be sooner than you think. The industry is currently dominated by large-scale fondant moldings that turn something edible into more a visual medium.
Joe Green, owner of Affinity Confections just might be the start of that disruption. Relying on real products and unique flavor combinations, Joe Green decided to take the focus away from your eyes and back on your taste buds. They look great too, by the way.
In the interview below, Joe Green tells his story and why Affinity Confections is more than just the flavor of the month.
CC: What makes Affinity Confections unique?What’s your special sauce?
JG: What makes Affinity Confections unique is the attention to detail on the products and my artistic influences used to create the confections. When I craft confections, I think about different types of art such as contemporary art or art deco to create a clean simple aesthetic influenced by classic pieces with my modern touches. I’ll look at different designs and colors and translate them into flavors and textures.
Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, it’s not easy to do but I keep things simple by creating clean aesthetics and putting the most emphasis on my ingredients to create flavor affinities and great combinations.
CC: Describe the inspiration behind 3 signature pieces.
JG: All of my pieces have some type of nostalgia tied to them. My lemon coconut cupcake was inspired by my grandmother’s coconut cake she would make in the summer. I just put my creative spin on it by making a fresh lemon curd buttercream with sweet coconut flakes on top.
Chocolate Noir which has a cream frosting infused with chocolate wafers was inspired by Noir films or black and white films in the 40′s and 50′s.
The ginger carrot cupcake was inspired by what I hated about carrot cake as a kid. I never liked nuts and stuff in the cake so when I made my own, I kept the same ingredients I just rearranged them and added more affinities to enhance the flavors.
CC: When did you decide to become a pastry chef?
JG: I’ve been baking since I was a kid, so when I decided to continue my education after high school I thought about going to culinary school. However, I knew that if I went to culinary I would have the technical training but I would always be working for someone else because I would lack business experience to have my own company.
So, I decided to go to Temple’s Fox School of Business as a Entrepreneurship major. I knew that as long as I had a passion for baking, I would continuously work on perfecting my skills and with my business background I would have the perfect balance of creativity and business acumen to be successful.
CC: What have been your 3 most difficult personal challenges and how you overcame them?
JG: One of the most difficult challenges was finding my own style for the baking company. It’s easy to do what everyone does and follow a trend but it’s difficult to find your own identity. I found my baking style by building off of my own style and taste prefrences because I have great taste lol. And I knew that my preference for quality products would allow me to create quality products.
The second most difficult challenge was getting money to get the company going. I bought the majority of my equipment when I interned at the Night Kitchen Bakery but it’s the back end business credentials that were the most difficult to obtain. I overcame that by talking to a family member about the necessary things I needed to do in order to be considered a real business. They were impressed by how detailed my plan was and loaned me the exact amount I needed to get all of the paperwork completed.
The third most difficult challenge was convincing people that I knew what I was doing with the company. So many people ask, “Why this size?” “Why not use fondant or food coloring?” “Why not make stuff for kids?” I overcame that by educating people on the importance of portion control and using natural ingredients. The more you educate people, they see you as an expert and believe in you. Affinity Confections can be enjoyed by people of all ages because they taste great and people appreciate the fresh ingredients more than they think.
STAY IN TOUCH
(Posted by Garron Gibbs)