Local baker Danielle Kattan has opened The Canvas Cake Studio, part bakery, part lunch café and part cooking school.
The business, which opened Sept. 16, is at 300 Jonestown Road in Jonestown Plaza.
Kattan, a 43-year-old native of Honduras, has run Danielle Kattan Cakes, specializing in wedding and other special-occasion cakes, for more than 10 years. This is her first retail business.
“I really wanted to have a place to teach,” she said of the Canvas Cake Studio. “But I will do my cakes here, and we will have lunch from 11 to 3 (Monday through Saturday).”
Kattan said she will offer a variety of hands-on classes for children and adults that focus on baking and decorating. Classes will be offered in the morning and afternoon — before and after lunch service. She will offer customized classes for home-schooled children on weekday mornings.
Classes begin this month. Topics include marbled-leaf cookies, cupcake decorating, cake building and decorating and more. Prices vary, depending on the class. People can register for classes online.
The shop will take orders for special cakes, but Kattan also will have small whole cakes, cupcakes and cake slices to grab and go. Her cupcake flavors include pound cake with blueberry coulis, coffee with dulce de leche and tahini buttercream, carrot cake, and coconut semolina with tahini and raspberry swirl buttercream.
Lunch will consist of empanadas, sandwiches and salads. Sami “Chop” Shabazz, a former student of Kattan’s from the Providence Culinary Training, is in charge of the savory foods.
Empanada fillings include spinach, three-cheese, ground beef and olives (Argentinean-style), potatoes and peas with garam masala, and shredded chicken.
The empanadas ($3.79 to $3.99) are served with a choice of sauces, including honey-sriracha, mint chutney, cilantro lime, chimchurri and pineapple salsa.
Customers can order custom main-dish salads ($7.49 and up) choosing from such ingredients as cilantro-lime rice, black beans, greens, avocado, chicken and beef brisket.
The sandwich/wrap menu includes a cheddar cheese and chicken sandwich ($8.49) and a vegetarian sandwich with black beans, avocado and roasted vegetables, topped with cilantro-lime crema ($8.49). The Catracho Twist Brisket ($9.99) is a Honduran-Southern fusion, Kattan said, named after the nickname for a person from Honduras. It’s a twist on a type of breakfast tortilla made in Honduras with sausage, beans and scrambled eggs.
Her and Shabazz’s twist is to put beans, beef brisket and sriracha-queso-fresco sauce on a sub roll with with a fried egg on top.
“Everything we make here — the dough, everything,” she said.
She also will sell chips, cold drinks and coffee — and a few select food items from other small businesses such as Chesebro’s candies from Thomasville and David’s Potbelly Pork Pullin’ Probably Perfect BBQ Dip from Winston-Salem.
Kattan said that her cooking is a fusion of sorts. Though she grew up in Honduras, her mother was from Colombia and her father was from Palestine. As a result her cooking is a fusion of sorts.
Kattan moved to Winston-Salem at age 26 in 2003 when her husband took a job with Hanes. At the time, she was a new mother. “I had this four-month baby, so I really couldn’t do anything but stay home and watched TV. And I watched a lot of the Food Network,” she said. “Eventually I told my husband, ‘I think I’d like to cook.’”
She enrolled in the culinary program at Guilford Technical Community College, and graduated in 2006.
Even while in school, she was making cakes for people. “I went and knocked on the door of Chelsee’s (a former coffee shop on Trade Street downtown) and asked, “Can I make a cake for you?”
The owner asked her to make a black forest cake. “Back then, I didn’t even know what a black forest cake was. I remember I burned the first one. Then the second one I burned myself and the cake fell on the floor,” she said. “I charged $10 for it and it cost me $30,” she said with a laugh.
But in school, Kattan honed her skills and soon was turning out impressive cakes.
She interned with Don McMillan at The Stocked Pot and worked for him for a brief period. She tried a job as a kitchen manager at a nursing home for about six months before realizing it was not for her.
When her husband’s job took them to Thailand for three years, she enrolled in the Cordon Bleu school there and learned how to cook Thai food.
Once back in Winston-Salem, she ramped up Danielle Kattan Cakes, earning a reputation for her meticulously hand-sculpted and well-designed cakes.
“Eventually, I want to have more classes,” she said. “I want to teach people. I also will open my doors to other bakers who want to teach. I don’t care about competition. I want us to work together.”
One part of the Canvas Cake Studio that she plans to add in the near future is a self-decorating service in which she offers baked plain cakes and people can choose from a selection of candies and other items and decorate them themselves. “I will set up a candy bar with all kinds of things,” she said. “I will frost the cakes, but people will have a blank canvas for decorating them.”