Stephanie Nass developed her passion for cooking when she was in high school in France. Today, Stephanie is known as Chefanie: a professional chef who brings her creative sense to the table. In 2014, she founded Victory Club, a supper club that hosts bi-monthly art-inspired meals all over the world, and following on this success, she launched Chefanie Sheets — a line of edible pastry decorating sheets that come in a variety of patterns. She has thousands of social media followers and shares entertaining tips with major brands and magazines. Stephanie is 25.
Can you remember the first thing you tasted that made you want to be a chef?
I knew I wanted to be a chef because I loved cooking and the joy that comes from bringing people together over food. There was not a specific food item.
How did you hone your skills as a chef before you had a full-time gig?
By learning as much about food as possible – reading cookbooks, blogs, articles. Tasting everything. Asking chefs questions. “Stage”-ing in different restaurants. Practicing in my own kitchen constantly, compulsively, cheerfully. Culinary school at ICC.
Tell us about launching the Victory Club? Was it hard to manage getting a business up and off the ground and continue growing as a chef?
Victory Club developed out of dinners that I was cooking in my art-filled apartment for friends and friends of friends. Today it is a business with subscribing members, corporate sponsors, and a full calendar of events – so as the founder and chef, there is a lot to do, and much of it is challenging! That said, I so deeply love growing my business and cooking that I don’t mind working on projects late at night. In fact, there is nothing I would rather do.
How has your love of art influenced your work as a chef?
Art is something beautiful that creates conversation. Food inspires the richest conversations and when prepared thoughtful is very beautiful. Food therefore is an artistic medium.
Victory Club brings together young professionals over the culinary and visual arts in art spaces. The art on the walls inspires the meal: ravioli that look like a painting, a cake that looks like a tile, etc. This creates a dynamic dialogue between people. Chefanie Sheets are edible sheets that instantly make an ordinary cake or cookie look beautiful. I paint the designs and then screen print them on the edible sheets with food dye. Creating food is my greatest passion, but painting is a close second. Art influences everything I do as a chef.
How have both your work with the culinary arts and visual arts influenced your personal style?
I love patterns and colors – I gravitate toward these things in my cooking, painting, and dressing.
Go to wardrobe staples when you’re in the kitchen? And when you’re not?
In the kitchen, I always wear a white chef coat – it’s uniform. However, I complement it with patterned aprons that I find along my travels.
Outside of the kitchen, I wear statement pieces. I love color, patterns, vintage, anything with a high-waist, low back, tall wedges, hats. Most of all I love matching my cakes to my clothes!
Any tips and tricks for those of us who are little less gifted with a skillet?
Start with high quality ingredients
What was the first handbag you ever owned?
A Kate Spade purse from my mom
How many bags do you currently own?
I lost count many years ago!
What makes a bag obsession worthy?
Style is an important form of self-expression. Bags are a big part of that!
What’s the one item you always have in your bag?
My iPhone… it’s the closest I can get to working when I’m not in the kitchen or at my desk.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever toted around for far too long?
A cake dressed in Chefanie Sheets that was baked in New York and eaten in Vienna.
Embroidered jean trend…yes or no?
Are you riding on Alessandro Michele’s high speed Gucci train
Yes! I love him as a person and as the creative director of Gucci. I appreciate the quotations he makes in fashion from art history. I love dialogue between different creative media generally, and he does an exquisite job with it .
Spill It: Who is your girl crush?
So many! I love my all of my girlfriends pursuing creative businesses: Alexandra Fairweather, Alexandra Porter, Alessandra Badioli, Amanda Shine, Catherine Smith, Cristina Ottaviano, Kristen Tomlan, Sara Hankin to name a few .
Spill It: How social media obsessed are you?
Don’t think I can be saved at this point… I’m an addict.
Spill It: What is the last fib you told on social media
There is often a major disparity between when things happen and when they are posted.
Spill It: Can we look inside your bag right now?
Only if you’re not already hungry 😉