Mina Hoyt

University of Rochester/Harvest Table Culinary Group

Where are you from?  
I am from Greece, NY. 

Have you always been a chef?  
I knew I wanted to be a chef since I was 10 years old because I always loved baking and decorating. I wanted to be an artist and work in a chocolate factory when I was a little girl so essentially, I mixed the two together and became a pastry chef! There was a brief amount of time when I went back to college to become a veterinarian but decided that it just wasn’t for me! 

What was your introduction to cooking/baking? 
I come from a LARGE Persian and Italian family and baking, and cooking have been a huge part of my life. Between making Italian cookies with my aunts and Iranian cooking with my father I was destined to have this as my career.   

Where and how did you train? 
I went to vocational school for half a day in high school for Pastry and Baking at We-Mo-Co. 

Do you like cooking at home or prefer someone else do it? 
I LOVE cooking at home. I am baking all day at my job so when I get home (if I have the time LOL!) it’s my release!! I also don’t trust my husband to do anything dealing with cooking other than grilling! (Sorry sweetie!) He is the best dishwasher for after hurricane Mina rolls through! 

What is your favorite thing to bake?   
Favorite sweet to eat? Brownies with all edges! And my favorite sweet are COOKIES! Anything chocolate basically!! 

Is there a chef you admire the most? 
I admire two chefs: Tammy Fuchs and Kelly Scott.  Both always take their baked goods to the next level! Tammy is AMAZING at sugar work and she is truly an inspiration to me!  Kelly always pushes her limits.  She did an UPSIDE-DOWN cake a couple of years ago and my mind was completely blown because I would never attempt that! 

What is your favorite food?  
Don’t make me choose!  In no particular order I like tacos, pizza, macaroni and cheese (homemade), and kebab with basmati rice! 

When it comes to working and creativity, are you an early bird or a night owl?  
I am a night owl! I swear my best work happens at midnight! 

What is the one kitchen item you absolutely can’t do without?  
My blow torch!