Bio written by Shayanne Nelson of Bleu Moon Bakery
Bleu Moon Bakery is a conscious and creative business that is focused on allergy-friendly and plant-based goods. Food is such an important part of life, so our mission is to produce food that is great for you and the world, along with being super delicious. We specialize in custom pastries and cakes. Pop-up shops are our thing, so check out our calendar to see where we are this week. We also do workshops and private events! The best way to always be in the know, is by following our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. If you can’t make it, no worries we are always taking orders, so check out our menu and place your order. Collaboration over competition, this ideal is very important to us. If you are interested in a collaboration or have any questions, comments/concerns, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org we are always open to new and exciting endeavors. Stay tuned! As always, “Why only treat yourself, once in a Bleu Moon?"
About the Chef:
It's about time, you get to know, the lady behind the cakes. For those of you who don't know me, I am Shayanne Nelson and this is my story. I am from Los Angeles, CA where I was born and raised. I have three degrees, one of which is in Baking and Pastry. I am a classically-trained chef, that has made it my personal mission to learn as many cuisines and cooking styles as I can. I have been in the restaurant industry since 2011, starting as a baker for a local bagel shop and then gaining as much experience in the kitchen as I possibly could from there. I am the maker, baker, owner, creator, dishwasher, HR, heart and soul of Bleu Moon Bakery. I, along with my partner and our fur babies, Bleu (hint,hint), Scout, and Wynonna, run my business out of our tiny kitchen, in our apartment here in Las Vegas, NV. I have an allergy list as long as this story, which is why I bake the way I do. Pastries that anyone and everyone can enjoy (no restrictions). Conscious, creative, collaborative, unique, and custom to how you like and need it. This business is my passion, dream, and baby. Stay tuned for our never-ending adventures, we love having you join us on this journey. xoxo, BMB
Interview conducted by Hayley Gripp
Please tell us a little about yourself/ what you do?
Hi, my name is Shayanne Nelson. I’m 24 years old and I have 3 degrees. I first got my associates degree in fine arts with a minor in photography, after that I went to culinary school and double majored with a degree in culinary arts + baking and pastry. I have been working in the restaurant industry for 7 years and have been a vegan pastry chef for the last 3 years. I have been running my business, Bleu Moon Bakery, for almost 2 years now. We are a plant-based, allergy-friendly bakery that specializes in custom sweets (cakes, pies, cookies, breads, pastries). I pride myself on being conscious and creative in my business practices. Working with interesting flavor combinations and the best ingredients you can find (organic, wholesome, plant-based, eco-friendly, and delicious)!
What do you love most about baking?
I love the science behind baking. It’s like a literal science experiment turned edible art! My creativity and mind are challenged in every way so I never get bored and am always having fun!
Did you intend to make an impact on the vegan community?
By providing plant-based goods, I get to make all our vegan friends super happy with delicious treats they can enjoy!
Are you vegan? If so, for how long and why did you become vegan?
I personally am not vegan. I have struggled with exposing this for so long, because of the extremists and judgments, but I am not a liar and this is who I am and how I live my life. I have many allergies that make it hard to eat normally, and also vegan. Being a chef, it makes it hard to eat with restrictions, especially when I am already limited due to my allergies. I eat a plant-based diet 90% of the time, but I don’t limit myself when it comes to trying new things and when I am teaching cooking classes at my other job. My diet is mostly that of a vegetarian. A Chef that doesn’t taste their food isn’t doing any good for anyone. You won’t learn, grow, or adjust. But all in all, Bleu Moon Bakery is 100% vegan + plant-based. No cross contamination from mine or my families lifestyle choices. It is very important to me to keep the integrity of my business.
Have you always wanted to be a baker or do what you are doing?
I wanted to work with animals when I was a kid, but come high school I knew I wanted to be an artist, hence my first degree. Taking art to a culinary level was the best thing I ever did, which is why I double majored, because I just couldn’t choose. After taking the artisan breads class, I knew I wanted to be a baker and I have never regretted a day of it, 7 years later.
What inspires you on a daily basis?
Flavor inspires me every day, the endless possibilities of combinations, ingredients and new tastes to be discovered. I love being creative and in food, flavor is one of the best ways!
What steps did you take to get you to where you are today?
By changing my career path from painter to culinary is where I took my first steps, completing culinary school and working my way through numerous restaurants and bakeries in Los Angeles to learn as many skills as I possibly could. Then moving to Las Vegas and taking a series of classes lead by Kelly Bennet on how to start your small business is what really gave Bleu Moon Bakery its legs!
What were the biggest challenges you dealt with/deal with on a daily basis?
The biggest challenge I deal with daily would be myself, I am my own worst enemy and best advocate when it comes to everything BMB related. I am ocd and anxiety-ridden constantly, I have a strive for perfection that sometimes works against me and I am my hardest critique. With that said, I know it only pushes me to be the best I can be, so I am okay with this challenge.
Who is your support system?
My support system consists of many people, I am definitely not alone. My first main supporter would be my partner, Chester, who is my rock and without him and his constant emotional and financial support I wouldn't be doing what I do. Next, my family which would consist of my mom and sister and my grandparents, who are always open and supportive and helpful whenever they can be. Next my main emotional support system, my fur babies, Bleu, Scout, and Wynonna, whenever I am having a bad day a walk with Wynnie or a cuddle with Bleu, or answering morning emails with Scout purring away on my lap always does the trick. Last, but not least, my customers, without all their constant love and support, I wouldn't be writing this story today!
For those nervous to go after their dreams, what words of advice can you give?
Work hard and never give up! You are your best and worst enemy, ride the highs and kick down the lows, you are an amazing human being for going after those dreams in the first place. Remind yourself od that every day and make sure to take care of yourself along the way. Whether you tried and failed or sored high to success, at least you gave it your all and regret nothing!
What does a typical day schedule look like for you?
Mon-Fri would consist of morning emails, afternoon-evening prep, meetings, time with Chester and my babies, orders, shopping/ordering, recipe development, organization, scheduling, and cleaning.
working at my other job teaching cooking classes between all this
Sat-Sun would consist of couple hours sleep, early before the sun comes up bake times, organizing, scrambling, getting to events, setting up, being social and running my booth, then crashing at home for a couple day recovery.
What’s your favorite vegan meal?
My favorite vegan meal would probably be veggie dogs, I never grew up eating hot dogs, so trying this for the first time, I still find myself dreaming of those dogs. I think I might have to go get some now.
What ingredients are different when comparing vegan and non-vegan baking?
There are multiple factors that go into vegan baking that I am still learning to this day, milk substitutes, egg substitutes, working with organic sugar, and different plant-based replacers. Cooking times and temps, having to freeze most things solid before baking.
Was it difficult to learn how to bake vegan?
I was fortunate enough to be such a nerd in college and read every cookbook ever, so that same mentality transferred over when I learned to bake vegan. I also had hands-on training by multiple vegan chefs in restaurants that I worked in. The great thing about learning to bake vegan though, is it's an every day learning lesson!
Does being a woman make it any more difficult in your endeavors?
Being a woman in the restaurant industry has been a daily struggle since culinary school, the lack of respect for women in a male-dominated industry (unless your pastry) and even then, takes its toll. It takes a strong person to get through it, but once you do it toughens you up and makes you the badass woman you knew you always could be. Being a small business, woman-owned bakery has its own different challenges, but it all comes down to respect. I just keep my head high, remind myself of who I am and what I am here to do and have no mercy!
Have you dealt with any adversity in your journey?
I definitely have, being told how risky and reckless my job choice was and now owning my own business, I get that even more. Honestly, I am going to do what I do until I physically can't anymore, no one can crush my dreams but me and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. I say bring on that challenge and kisses to those who believe I will fail.
Who is a female (past or present) that you look up to, inspires you or is a role model?
I have two: first would be my mom who is the strongest, hardworking, badass, most self-empowered woman I know! Plus she is also drop-dead gorgeous inside and out, which makes her even more of a force to be reckoned with. She inspires me daily to go for my dreams and take shit from no one. second would be my Chef Christian, who was my pastry chef in school, she has been through hell and back and is still so strong and inspiring. She is living proof that my dreams are possible and it's okay to be feminine and badass at the same time in a kitchen.
Feel Free to check out Bleu Moon Bakery Here