Food & Drink » Three-Course Spiel

Tiz Benson, baker

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Walk into Tizzert's Custom Cakery, and it's easy to see how much customers appreciate the business by the hundreds of thank-you notes hanging on the wall.

Owner Tiz Benson (hence the name), who built the company from two employees to eight over the last 13 years, says these ongoing relationships with customers stem from the enjoyment all her employees get from their jobs.

Creative Loafing: Did you always know you wanted to start a company in Charlotte?

Tiz Benson: I wasn't sure whether I wanted to do the business here or in New York, where I went to culinary school. In the end, I decided that I would rather be a small business in a medium-sized sea than to be a tiny business in a huge ocean like Manhattan.

How did you get started in baking?

I grew up with my mom and she cooked everything. She was especially famous for the little desserts she made called Teatime Tassies, as well as her blackberry jam cakes and others. I learned a lot from her, and then I was a nanny for a family in Atlanta who entertained quite a bit, so I began to learn more. That family then took me traveling to other countries and states, and I started to really become interested in the culinary field as a career.

Any funny or crazy stories that stem from the custom orders you deal with?

Most of our cakes are less crazy and we make sure everything in the cake is edible and tastes great. There was a time that one of the corporate executives in Bank of America had been known to tell people that he would never work for Wachovia no matter what the situation. Well, when he did move to Wachovia we were in charge of the cake for his welcoming party. So we made a cake with a little pig with wings on it that said, "When Pigs Fly" and was decorated in the Wachovia colors.

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