Interview with 2012 Atlanta Rising Star Community Chef Taria Camerino

June 2012

Katherine Sacks: What got you interested in cooking?
Taria Camerino: I’ve been a pastry chef my whole life. This is the only job I’ve ever had. When I was 17, I decided it’s what I wanted. I apprenticed in Florida with a French pastry chef. I’ve been in Atlanta for seven or eight years now. I helped open Top Flr, worked at Holeman & Finch, worked at Restaurant Eugene.

KS: Explain the concept of Sugar-Coated Radical to us.
TC: I want to do all this and still call it pastry, but use fair-trade sugar and chocolate. I don’t think you can even have something that tastes good if it’s dirty in its ethics. We are a sweet shop and that’s what we do and love. It’s important for us to incorporate food into the art world; people use food in the art world all the time, people even say chefs are artists and I want bridge that gap.

KS: Why is it important to focus on fair-trade chocolate?
TC: The cocoa commodities market is completely unjust, it’s really screwed up. I think India could be phenomenal; if we could create a situation where we are creating a large enough demand, we could really change the situation.

KS: What is the most challenging thing you’ve done?
TC: This business.

KS: Where will we find you in five years?
TC: I have a big master plan. In 5 years, I would like to have a broader impact in the art world. I’d like to have confection shops in other places, have other shops that focus on flavor and taste. I would also like to have my own land to grow cocoa in several countries; we’re planning on starting in Nicaragua this summer.