Interview with a Baker: Kendyl Severino

A fellow Syracuse alum, Kendyl Severino, recently started her own cupcake business. Kendyl has always been an entrepreneur and been interested in starting a food related business, as evidenced by her senior year project where it was her idea to create a personal chef business.  She currently lives in Philadelphia, PA and bakes cupcakes out of her home.  Check out her Facebook page, Cupcakes by Kendyl. to see her beautifully frosted and decorated mini master pieces.

We decided to ask her a few questions.

1. What are your favorite foods – besides cupcakes?

I don’t think there is anything better on earth than macaroni and cheese. Whether it is boxed Annie’s or gourmet lobster mac and cheese, it is always creamy and delicious. (I need to work on a mac and cheese cupcake sometime soon!)

2. What are your favorite restaurants in your city?

I moved from Boston to Philly about a year and a half ago. The first thing I thought after reading this question was all of my favorite eateries in my “old city”. Toro, a spanish style tapas restaurant was a stones throw away from my apartment in Boston. I was absolutely in love with their delicious cocktails and mouth watering small plates.

My favorite restaurant in Philly would probably be El Vez. This restaurant has an amazing atmosphere and very inventive drinks. Mexican fusion doesn’t get much better than this – “Mexican-American meets East L.A. in a Tijuana Taxi cuisine,” as described by Steven Starr. Absolutely delicious.

3. Do you have any advice for aspiring foodies looking to start their own business?

Feed your friends … and then feed your friends’ friends. I brought cupcakes to friends’ parties, bridal showers, birthdays etc. until I had friends ordering my cupcakes and then eventually their friends ordering my cupcakes. Word of mouth is a great key to success.

4. How did you get started with your business?

While I was living and working in Boston I started a tradition amongst my coworkers where I would bring in custom cupcakes for everyone’s birthdays (the agency consisted of about 15 people). I loved the challenge of making a person’s favorite desert in the form of a cupcake. I had a blast making peanut butter & fluff, key lime pie, strawberry shortcake and many more dessert inspired cupcakes. It wasn’t until I moved to Philly that I began to hear my friends and family suggest I turn this hobby into a business.

5. Where do you get your ingredients?

For now I get my standard baking ingredients from the local grocery store. My quantities aren’t big enough at this point to warrant getting bulk ingredients. I get a lot of my fruit ingredients and eggs from the local farmers market. For more exotic extracts or ingredients I tend to frequent Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Kitchen Kapers.

6. Have you had any professional training?

I have not had any professional training. I would consider the few hundred hours of The Food Network I’ve watched to be the closest training I’ve received to date. I am addicted to food inspired television.

7. What did you learn at Syracuse that helped you with your business?

I think that a lot of the tools that I learned in my senior year project of developing a ‘mock’ business have helped tremendously in figuring out how to run my cupcake business properly (I had the pleasure of having, The Foodies’ Melissa in this class!). Also, having entrepreneurship as my second major along side marketing has been a great help. The process of calculating overhead and raw ingredients to come up with a proper cost model has been key to my success so far.

8. What are you future goals/plans?

My goal at this point is to continue developing my own baking skills, create new and innovating flavor combinations and keep growing a customer base that loves great cupcakes!

Thanks for the interview, Kendyl! Miss Yunks can’t to try your cupcakes next time she’s in Philly!

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3 Comments

  1. Elizabeth
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    Great interview! Always fun to hear the background about a baker and their business.

  2. Margie McShane
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    Kendyl,
    A baker with a true love for what she creates. It is always done from the heart and soul. I know Kendyl personally and there are not enough words to describe how wonderful she is and how yummy her fantastic cupcakes are!! Purchase some you will see.

  3. Sally B.
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    Kendyl –
    Made me remember our night at Toro seeing this… now I want to try El Vez. We will be in PA for a weekend in June so I’m expecting some samples to be delivered!!! Hopefully we can see you too.

    And thanks for introducing me to another blog… looks great and two of my favorite cities!

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