Meet the Maitland Farmers Market’s youngest merchant: a 7-year-old aspiring pastry chef and chocolatier.
Windermere resident Kyla Tavares is chasing her sweet dreams of a culinary career from her tent at the Maitland Farmers Market, where she sells cookie-frosting kits she makes herself.
“She uses her great-grandmother’s shortbread cookie recipe,” said Kyla’s mother, Erika. “She’ll measure out the ingredients, mix them, roll it, cut the shapes and put them on the cookie sheet. It’s mainly her. I help out with the oven.”
Each cookie kit comes with two cookies, two containers of frosting and two containers of sprinkles. It all stems from Kyla’s desire to one day make sweet desserts for a living as a professional pastry chef. She especially loves to work with chocolate, ordering it from Utah and melting it down over the stove at home into flowers and various Pokémon shapes.
She’s even gone door-to-door in her neighborhood to offer the chocolates for neighbors to try under the name “Kyla’s Sweet Treats.”
“My favorite thing about making desserts is tasting them to make sure they’re yummy,” said Kyla, who also dreams of opening her own chocolate shop someday. “I like making desserts so much because they taste so good.”
Kyla’s stand came about as a result of Erika’s business at the farmers market: Stop and Paint, a family-friendly painting station were children and their parents can express their creativity.
Erika was given two tables and decided to give her daughter a place to sell her culinary creations.
The mother-daughter duo started their booth in June.
“We came up with the cookie idea because people could paint, if you will, on cookies if she made the cookies and provided the frosting and provided the sprinkles,” Erika said.
“Her passion is chocolates, but that doesn’t really work with the farmers market in the summertime.”
Kyla has had the desire to craft sweet treats since she was 3 years old. A photo of her from preschool shows her sporting a chef’s outfit, while a small book she made in kindergarten explained why she wants to be a pastry chef.
“I think it was in preschool; the teachers always ask, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’” said Kyla’s father, Lou. “She used to always play with the kids cooking set, so she said, ‘I want to be a pastry chef.’ We just try to encourage it.”
Today, she loves watching Food Network shows such as “Cupcake Wars,” “Cake Wars” and “Chopped,” and attends cooking camps, where she’s learned to make cupcakes.
Erika remembers making banana bread for co-workers with Kyla even earlier in her childhood.
“She really liked being able to create something that then other people enjoyed and she herself enjoyed,” Erika said. “She’s got a sweet tooth.”
Erika said they have considered bringing Kyla’s stand to the Winter Garden Farmers Market, but Kyla likes the merchants and customers at the Maitland Farmers Market so much she doesn’t want to leave and feels loyal to them.
Kyla hopes to start implementing chocolates to her table in the fall when the weather is cooler.
“I just think it’s neat that she’s sort of honed in on this one thing,” Lou said. “Who knows what she’ll do? She seems really passionate about it. … She can do whatever she puts her mind to.”