Lisa’s Delightful Desserts
  Nerissa Hosein
FOOD
August 2021

All photographs are by Anthony Aqui and are of cakes made by Lisa Pacheco Aqui

 

Two tier chocolate flavoured wedding cake filled with chocolate ganache and covered in vanilla flavoured fondant and handmade gumpaste flowers

 

There are some people who cook with so much love and passion that you can taste the flavours just by having a conversation with them. That was what happened when I spoke with Lisa Pacheco Aqui recently. Her passion for cooking bursts into every word as she describes her love for the craft and the meticulous ingredients that ensure that every dish is special. Her customers would surely agree.

 

                           Vanilla cheesecake topped with fresh strawberries, strawberry compote and whipped ceam

 

Chocolate cake filled with chocolate and nutella ganache and covered in vanilla buttercream topped with handmade chocolate spheres, chocolate lollipops and meringue rosettes and kisses

 

Lisa’s immense adoration for the kitchen stems from her humble beginnings. Born in the seventies in St. James, she was raised in a very close-knit family with four brothers. Her mother was the force that kept the family together and happy, while her father worked to keep the house running. Their life was simple and her mother taught them everything. She was a fantastic dancer and an enigma in the kitchen. They did not have a lot of money to buy too many snacks and so forth for school so their mother would make homemade delicacies for them to carry. She had a fire for cooking (no pun intended) and she passed that trait down to her children so that today, even her brothers can light up the kitchen on any given day.

                         Semi naked vanilla cake filled with vanilla custard cream and topped with fresh mixed berries

 

Her mother and grandmother were wizards in the kitchen, as she put it, and they could make something from nothing. She was amazed at their craft of taking the simplest ingredients and making them into the most magnificent tasting dishes. Watching these amazing women gave Lisa the foundation she needed and taught her the art of blending flavours. She gained a reputation for being a picky eater because she was always last at the table, but little did anyone realize that that was her own way of savouring flavours, picking apart ingredients and absorbing each and every one of them. To this day when she goes out to eat, she picks apart her meal and loves talking to chefs about their processes and methods. Soon she’s in her kitchen recreating the dish. Her favorite places to be are the supermarket or specialty stores, finding new items and gourmet ingredients. 

 

                         Semi naked carrot cake filled with cream cheese frosting and topped with buttercream flavoured carrots

 

Lisa has no professional cooking training. After she completed her High School education at St. James Secondary she started working in the corporate world. She continued her studies at Sara’s Secretarial College and Roytec, and eventually branched off into HR Management, getting her Bachelor of Management Studies degree from the University of the West Indies (UWI). She got married, had her daughter and continued in the corporate world where she is still, quite happy and fulfilled. 

But her heart stayed in the kitchen. Throughout her career, she would share her delicacies, like her signature banana bread, with her colleagues at work. She learned this recipe at an early stage of life from her aunt. What’s so special about her banana bread you ask? Well, once when she went to Tobago, she had this delicious dessert of flambeau banana with a chocolate sauce and that got her thinking, “How would chocolate chips taste in my banana bread?” She tried it and it was delicious! Her family and friends could not get enough of it! Everyone raved about the texture and the flavour and how rich her banana bread was. 

 

 
Double chocolate cake filled with mixed berry compote, frosted with dark chocolate ganache, decorated with cocoa nibs and topped with chocolate sail filled with an assortment of chocolate truffles. A chocolate lover's dream!

 

Her chocolate cake was another fan favorite and to this day is one of her most requested items. She was never really a fan of chocolate cakes before because she always found that they looked so good on the outside but were so dry on the inside. She worked tirelessly on her recipe to get it right. She was finally able to create the perfect chocolate cake, moist, decadent and rich. The layers burst with flavour and all her fillings are done from scratch so that everything is done to perfection. Nothing is overly sweet or packed with sugar or butter but rather just good, wholesome, chocolate goodness!  

 

Letter "J" vanilla marble cake filled with vanilla buttercream and topped with fresh strawberries, variety of white and dark chocolates and fresh daisies. Heart shaped vanilla cheesecake with fresh strawberries and strawberry compote 

 

Soon, her coworkers would ask her to make desserts for their events and personal needs and Lisa admits that although she was so happy to make them she never took them as jobs. Whatever money she got back for ingredients, she would put towards her charitable work with children. It’s another passion that’s close to her heart and she feels fortunate to be able to help. Cooking is not work to her. It is where she feels the most contentment and fulfilment. She can have the hardest day at the office, and once she comes home and steps into her kitchen, she feels energized all over again. 

                    Pink velvet cake frosted with vanilla flavoured ermine frosting and topped with fresh pink roses

 

Eventually, people in her life kept telling her that she should look into opening her own business, so she started toying seriously with the idea. Last year, after much support and rave reviews for her dishes, she finally registered her business, Lily’s Bake Shoppe. The name ‘Lily’ is very dear to her heart. Her father always called her Lily. She was his flower among the boys and her favorite flowers are calla lilies. She works from home and does each order with an abundance of meticulousness and precision. Her main goal is not to get paid for her products, but to see the enjoyment of her dishes and to know that her customers have the best memories of their experiences with her. She has no interest in mass production, but rather unique pieces and, as she said, if she is not happy with it, it’s not leaving her kitchen. Money is not the most important thing. Happiness and enjoyment are what Lisa is after.

 

               Vanilla cake filled with vanilla custard cream and strawberry puree, frosted with vanilla flavoured buttercream

 

While she still enjoys her position in the corporate world, this is where she plans to spend the future: In her kitchen, surrounded by family, creating wonderful memories for people. She hopes to one day open a tea shop where people can come and sample her wonderful creations in a magical setting. It’s her retirement plan as she calls it. She has no desire to be in the spotlight, but rather enjoys working in the background to create beauty, combine it with flavour, dust it with love and send it on its way to make someone happy. 

 

                                                           Cakepop bouquet

 

It was really a delight to speak with Lisa. It is refreshing to speak with someone who is not just doing something for money or is not just interested in how her work looks, but rather cares for the flavours and making sure that her customers are happy with their purchases. So, next time you’re in the market for a dessert that’s more than just a pretty cake, but also a delicious one, check out Lily’s Bake Shoppe!

 

Lily's Bake Shoppe can be contacted at 347-LILY (5459)

You can find Lisa on on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/lilysbakeshoppe/

 

All photographs are by Anthony Aqui

By: Nerissa Hosein | FOOD | August 2021


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