Nov 06, 2022 News
By Vanessa Braithwaite
Kaieteur News – Young Lindener Shellon Massiah, who is the proprietor of Ambrosial Cuisine that operates in Amelia’s Ward, Linden calls herself the ‘medical chef’. For five years, she has been cooking and selling food to fund her studies. While she had to quit Texila American University because her scholarship had expired and she could no longer afford the tuition, she still bounced right back and commenced studies at the University of Guyana. Clearly, her determination to succeed was stronger than her setbacks.
Today, she has successfully completed two years of study, and is closer to wearing that well known uniform of surgeons, nurses and physicians called scrubs. Every day, Massiah faces the heat of the stove to make sumptuous pastries, creole snack packs and other confectioneries and desserts to support her studies. Her operation has expanded and gained so much recognition over the years that she is now one of Linden’s most demanded caterers.
Her journey began in December 2018 when she sold cakes for the Christmas season. That gravitated to cooking about 10 boxes of lunch daily, and snack packs containing different local pastries, to sell to persons in the community. While her skill was significantly self-taught, she did garner some experience from her mother who spent a lot of time baking in the home. “The Sunday snack pack was a big buzz, I would advertise it on WhatsApp and Facebook and parents would purchase to ease their burden of preparing snack for the next day,” she explained.
The support she garnered from the community and the help from her family, drove her to keep expanding. She increased the number of pastries offered, practised aggressive marketing, and her clientele kept growing from strength to strength.
“Now I get big orders, I cater for weddings, business functions and birthdays,” she boasted, since she not only caters to persons in Linden but in Georgetown as well. It is safe to say that Ambrosial Cuisine is now a household name in Linden, when it comes to food. Presently, Massiah offers customers ‘Cook-up Nights’ on Wednesday, ‘Creole Snack Packs’ on Saturday, ‘Pastry Snack Packs’ on Sunday and has started her own pickle line. She recently rebranded them with more attractive packaging and labels, and they are now available in local supermarkets. “I am now looking to have them available in supermarkets in Georgetown, they are now barcoded and upgraded and the quality is better,” she told Kaieteur News.
Studying and managing a culinary business is challenging for Massiah, but her dream of becoming a doctor must be realised. “Dealing with school and my business is very challenging; however, I am a warrior, so I try to get a balance. During the pandemic, school was online, so sometimes I would login to classes and listen to my lectures, while I am in the kitchen baking. Some days it’s overwhelming but I get through it”,” she said.
She is now working on establishing a snackette at her residence, so that customers can also enjoy dine-in services, since her facility can only accommodate take-away.
In addition to cooking, Massiah also models. Her advice to youths who may have a desire to pursue a dream, but do not have the financial support system to do so, is to sift out their talents and let that talent fund their dreams.
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