Food News

The Baketress Stressed: Richard Hales, Vanessa Paz Part Ways

Right after we finished writing the announcement for Sakaya Kitchen Downtown's opening, we got a call from chef/owner Richard Hales.

"Just wanted you to know that Vanessa isn't with The Baketress anymore," he told Short Order. Hales then informed us that he and Paz had actually parted ways right before Thanksgiving.

Paz was hired by Hales about five months ago to run The Baketress. Hales

told us that he had her in mind when he was thinking up the concept of a

line of home-style baked treats.

When Paz left Michy's, he was

thrilled that his plan was coming to fruition. Hales and Vanessa talked

about the concept and he let her run with it. However, the partnership

wasn't going the way Hales envisioned it.

"She wasn't able to work a full schedule because of personal reasons,"

he said. "She was very talented and I love her desserts, but it never

really worked, as much as I tried and tried and tried."

Hales said that he's taken back control of the Baketress. He plans to

hire someone for production, but will be designing the menu himself.

The Baketress menu is being trimmed to concentrate on Hales' strengths,

as well, with a focus on cookies, brownies, fried apple pies, and ice

cream sandwiches. "We're very successful with our cookies, so I'd like

to expand from that," he explained.

The truck, which didn't get the instant attention and acclaim of Dim

Saam a Gogo, is going to be redesigned. "I've got the artist who

designed the Aleloop Mini Coopers working on a design for the truck."

We caught up with Vanessa Paz who told us the partnership wasn't what she thought it would be. "I'm a full-time mom and I just couldn't give Richard the hours he wanted from me," she explained.

"Richard is very successful at marketing himself. I'm more about the product. For him it's more about making money and branding. When we first discussed the Baketress, I though she should be a bad-assed Rosie the Riveter girl who bakes ... but I didn't feel like I had to be her. I didn't want to be out in public."

Vanessa said that for right now she's going to enjoy the time off. "I actually went to Art Basel and I'm going to spend Christmas with my daughter. I haven't had Christmas off in ten years. Then, I'm working on doing something with a designer friend of mine. Maybe a pop-up restaurant in Wynwood."

So who's the Baketress now, we asked Hales?

"I'm the f**king Baketress! I f**king woke up at five in the morning to bake f**king cookies. What's next? Showing up in drag?"

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss