Wu-Tang Clan co-founder, Power, has become a friend of mine, and a great mentor in realizing ones dreams. I left the fashion industry to pursue my passion as a full-time baker.
Photo by Henry Hargreaves
Welcome to our new column from Flour Shop baker, Amirah Kassem, where she asks twelve questions—with one extra for good measure—to a variety of international innovators. Since the author insists that she could never get to know anyone without imagining their dreams in frosting form, her column's aim is to help them have their cake and eat it too.
I started my own bakery, Flour Shop, after I realized that I didn't love the fashion industry as much as I loved turning up to parties and seeing people's reactions when they cut into a rainbow-layered cake that shed glitter with every slice. When I realized this was what made me smile the most, I left the fashion industry to pursue baking full-time.
It's no secret that I love Wu-Tang Clan. For their twentieth anniversary, I made enough Wu-inspired cakes to fill a gallery on Manhattan's Lower East Side, from a Wu-Tang sword dripping with icing, a Chinese takeout container of noodles with the logo on the side, and a frosted Killa Beehive. But it's not just their music that I love— it's their philosophy on life. The Wu-Tang crew were hanging out and making music because they were friends, and music was their "salvation." Now, they're the biggest hip-hop group well, ever. Wu-Tang Clan co-founder and founder of the Wu-Tang brand, Power, has become a friend of mine, and a great mentor in realizing ones dreams. Even though the two of us have different artistic outlets, Power and I agree on the most important thing: love for your work is the best way to bake the cake / then take the cake / and eat it too. Besides, he's living proof that the best way to go after anything is because you love it.
My recent lunch date with the Wu-Tang member—he ordered soup and iced tea while I ate strawberries and whipped C.R.E.A.M.— resulted in a meal fit to interrogate Power about superpowers, comparing notes on our moms' cooking, the best places to eat, and whether or not we would be baking rivals one day. We also discussed how the Witty Unpredictable came to be.
MUNCHIES: You grew up in Brooklyn before moving to Staten Island. What's your favorite thing that your mom made? Power: Yo, my mom made everything. When I was a meat eater, my favorite was beef stew. All the time, my mom was a killa at the banana pudding.
What was your favorite dessert growing up? My dad used to come home with the orange circus peanuts and those sour cherry balls too.
What about the most memorable birthday? The one my mom got for me on my fourteenth birthday, because I had a birthday party in Staten Island. That was the dopest one because my whole neighborhood and all my friends packed up a whole recreation room. It was the first time I got to share my cake with people outside my house.
If you had to create an ice cream flavor with two ingredients, what would they be? I would probably do a strawberry banana mix...
Doesn't that already exist? Alright, hold up. That's a hard one. What's yours?
Lime and hot sauce, I put that on everything. OK. Jerk chicken and coconut ice cream flavor.
What's your secret guilty pleasure? My pastrami and cheese from Katz's Deli. I don't eat meat anymore, but I still sneak one of those in now and again. I had to sneak another one— they say Katz's is the best, but I was in LA on Fairfax, and they got Canter's, a 24-hour spot.
Who would you eat dessert off of if you could? That is a good fucking question. I got a few tummies I'd like to eat dessert off of, but I'm gonna keep that to myself.
I heard you bought a custard shop in the deep South. Why? Actually, it's not my shop, it's a friend of mine's shop. I'm teaming up with him. First of all, think of Carvel, Baskin Robbins, and all that shit. Now think of a black dude down in Atlanta making his own ice cream. I've never heard of a black dude making ice cream.
Can you bake? I bake cakes; simple shit. I can cook mad shit. I'm a chef.
Are you my competition?! I thought we were friends... What? I work for you! I'm your sous chef. I'll be mixing up the batter.
Who taught you? Who else? My mom.
What's your favorite dessert to make? If you do become my competition, what's your signature dish? I ain't too fancy on this. When Flour Shop opens, I'll be going to your spot. You do elaborate shit. I only know how to bake the cake and put the icing on it.
Should we have a bake-off? Yeah, I'll do a bake-off on you! But you can't get too advanced. We gotta already know what's going on. We can't have a slaughter; you can't just murder me.
Is there anything that you hate that other people find weird, like chocolate or doughnuts? I don't like mad shit. I don't order stuff I don't like, and I don't be around it. It's like Superman and kryptonite: get it away from me.
Speaking of Superman... Oh… are you trying to ask what my superpower would be? Teleporting. I thought about that one—zoop, zoop, I'm in LA. Fucking Spain tomorrow, no baggage fees. 'Cause I gotta be everywhere the same day'.
Where do you eat in LA? It's always the Jamaican jerk chicken at Coley's, because I'm the jerk chicken king.
And for dessert? Yo, they got this place called Milk on Beverly Boulevard has killer ice cream. You know what I'm talking about.
But what about Staten Island? Aww shit. Where else would I go to eat other than my mom's house?
Fair enough. What's your dream cake? It's gotta be the logo— a double, triple-decker Wu logo skyscraper cake. It's gotta have scoops of ice cream around the side. Can't have cake without cream, and cream without cake—the cream and the cake go together— you got that?
Yeah, got it. Thanks, Power.