Serina Tetenov

Brown Sugar Bakery

Phone: (585) 259-0994

2604 Elmwood Avenue

#120 Rochester, New York 14618

Where were you born and raised?

What was your introduction to cooking/baking?

My mother cooked for our very big family (9 kids) and taught me the foundation for everything I know.

Where and how did you train? (Culinary school, internships, self-taught, family member, etc.)
Mother and self-taught

Have you always been a chef? If yes, describe your career path. If no, what else have you done?
I have had many careers: 1. Sign Language Interpreter, 2. Social Worker, 3. Psychotherapist, and 4. (Current) Clinical Director of Operations for Outpatient Psychiatry – “Strong Minds” – at the University of Rochester

If you own your own business(s), when did you open and what inspired you to go out on your own??
I started my business in 2009 as a first time DBA. I did the same festival/farmer’s market for about 3 years. I took a break for 10 years while raising kids and attaining my Ph.D., but the desire to bake never left me so I always knew I would come back to it!!

Where do your recipes come from (i.e., secret family recipes, trial and error, someone else’s inspiration)?
Trial an error. Basically anything that has ever tasted good to me, I have tried to turn it into a cake or a cookie.

Is there a chef you admire the most? Who and why?

There is not one chef that I particularly admire. I enjoy watching and gain inspiration from all pastry chefs

When you’re “off the clock” do you like preparing meals for friends and family or do you prefer someone else to do it?
YES! I am a big entertainer. We often hosts parties at locations all around the Rochester area. Once we are done remodeling our home, we will have several more events at our own house.

You have a day to eat anything you want. What will your menu look like?
SUMMER DINNER DREAM: 1. A delicious salad (a hardy, leafy base – like kale or cabbage) paired with a grain such as kamut or farro, root veggies, and tossed in a lemon-lavender vinaigrette. 2. Vibrant and colorful cold soup (like English pea or purple sweet potato and beet combo) topped with giant prawns, garnished with roasted garlic, thinly
sliced radish, carrot curls, scallion reduction, and drizzled with a flavorful pepper oil and fresh lime 3. Seared Halibut OR Scallops with over sautéed greens with a side of asparagus, 4. Earl Grey panna cotta with citrus foam
What is your favorite thing to bake?
Cookies and cakes because my creativity with flavors and presentation is always a mystery…even to me.

What are your best and worst skills? List a baking/decorating skill you have mastered and one that, no matter how hard you try, you just haven’t been able to get the hang of.
I am quite good at using natural ingredients to getting flavors I would like to achieve. I have not mastered the smooth look of frosted cakes (please help!!)

Is there a handy baking utensil that you absolutely can’t do without?
Parchment paper

Besides baking, what are your other hobbies?
I am a former Sign Language interpreter. I am still quite skilled but no longer use it full time.

Please include any other things you’d like to share.
I am very excited for this contest!!