We’re so excited for the premier of Disney+ immersive global competition series “FOODTASTIC” where artists create extravagant scenes and sculptures made entirely out of food. Flour Shop founder Amirah Kassem is one of the food art experts on the series. We recently chatted with Kassem on baking, becoming a first time mom and not being afraid to get creative.
I love reading that you learned baking and sculpting from your mom in Mexico. Please share some fun food memories from your childhood.
Growing up in Mexico and baking with my mom were some of the greatest moments of my childhood! The holidays were especially my favorite because I would bake with my mom for family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and we would have the most fun decorating parties. We would bake everything, from Mexican pastries to colorful cookies and cakes.
Who influenced you the most growing up?
My mom! She was basically a Pinterest mom before Pinterest! She made cooking and baking so fun and she uses her creativity to make things for others and I just love how much she loves making people happy.
When did you move to L.A.? Were you born and raised in Mexico?
I moved to L.A. for college then left for NYC for 10 years and now I’m BACK! I grew up in Juarez, Chihuahua Mexico and later moved across the border to El Paso, TX. But apart from preschool I always went to school in America; I literally crossed the border every day to go to school. But as crazy as that sounds it’s very common in that town, so I would compare it to Manhattan and Brooklyn just with a passport.
Were you always the “creative kid?”
YES! Anything creative has always been a passion of mine. I was a dancer, a baker, a crafter, a party planner, just anything I liked, I jumped in. But I was also always into turning my creativity into a business. My first job ever actually was going around my neighborhood wrapping “secret presents”! I love gift-wrapping. I think I would have made a great elf!
What would you tell your middle school self?
Have fun! I think growing up you are always preparing for the next phase — prepare for high school, prepare for college, prepare for a job, etc. But I think middle school should just be about having fun and holding on to as much of your childhood as you can.
Tells us about your experience being a judge at “Foodtastic.” What do you enjoy the most?
Oh my, where to begin?! Dream come true! It’s everything I love all in one. Art, food and DISNEY! I mean, what’s not to love? It’s the first competition show of its kind, and it truly felt like it the entire time we were filming. You won’t believe how talented some people are, with everything from a chainsaw to a literal watermelon.
You’re a first-time mom. Tells us how becoming a parent has changed you?
At first, I was scared of what “change” as a mom would mean for a hungry entrepreneur like myself. But if anything, I feel more powerful, like I can do anything and I have a whole new inspiration to do so. Coco has made me more focused when I need to be, more creative and in some ways has taught me to slow down and enjoy the magic of tasting ice cream for the first time.
What are you looking forward to sharing with your daughter the most?
FOOD! She already loves food more than anything else and I hope she enjoys the process of cooking and baking with me as much as she loves eating it. We actually can’t say the word “noodles” around my house unless you are ready to give her a big bowl of them.
What’s the best advice you’ve received so far about parenthood?
To enjoy it! It’s hard when you are juggling so many things but if I had to say one positive thing the pandemic has personally done for me, it’s learning to work from home so I can share meals with my daughter.
What tips do you have for families who want to get creative in the kitchen?
Don’t be afraid to have fun and make mistakes. It’s all about the experience, not the outcome. And if it looks that bad, cover it in sprinkles, everyone will love it anyways!
When you’re not working, where will we find you?
Probably still in the kitchen but for different reasons. I love hosting! Entertaining my friends for dinner parties or holidays, anything with a theme really is my absolute favorite.
Tell us some of your favorite spots in L.A. that you enjoy with your family. Lately, we have been going to the zoo because Coco loves the flamingos. The Griddle Cafe (the place with the giant pancakes) moved to Yamashiro Hollywood and it’s so fun for big groups because it’s all outdoors and has amazing views. My all-time favorite restaurant, and I’m sure my daughter would agree, is Felix Trattoria in Venice. The Cabana Cafe is such a great lunch environment. Of course, DISNEYLAND!!!!!!