SWEET DECADENCE: Welcome Pastry Chef Maria Kemp to LKNConnect!

by | In the Kitchen, Recipes

Stuffed Artichoke Bottoms

LKNConnect is thrilled to welcome Maria Kemp, pastry chef and owner of Beyond Decadence. In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. During the pandemic, she moved away from being a pop-up bakery to an online bakery and began offering nationwide shipping. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Maria spent over two decades working as an Information Technology Consultant for Fortune 100 & 500 companies. Her love for baking was only a hobby until 2007, when she transitioned from IT Consultant to full-time pastry school student. Maria is active in the Lake Norman community through initiating “pay it forward” movements and providing free virtual baking classes at the beginning of the pandemic. She has won several pitch competitions and awards from the City of Charlotte, and she has been featured on TV, radio, podcasts, and a magazine cover. Welcome, Maria! Be sure to follow Maria’s column, Sweet Decadence, for her Pro Tips and more every other Tuesday. — Hanna Schoenrock, Managing Editor

Maria’s Pro Tip #21:

Feel free to laugh at this one, but just remember … I am a creator of deliciousness, not a refrigeration service person. And, in my defense, the logic I was using made sense in MY head.

Frost-free freezers and ice build-up (hint: you don’t want that)

First of all, frost-free freezers are NOT supposed to have a build-up of ice inside! Hello, it’s supposed to be frost-free! But apparently, sometimes the magic of the defrost cycle and evaporation don’t occur.  Then, one day, you open the door to see an iceberg-like build-up in the back of the freezer. The ice is SUPPOSED to magically evaporate and descend down the slits on the metal piece in the back of the freezer and disappear. Don’t — and I repeat DON’T — decide to “free” any ice and give it a little push down the chute. Unless you enjoy the clanking, clunking sound from the ice literally hitting the internal fan! I’m not sure if I shut it off fast enough or if it died first. (The repair man later told me I shut it off.)

Lessons learned:

  1. Thank God my 50 lbs of butter were down to 10 lbs, and everything else is stuffed in my other refrigerator/freezer, AND it didn’t happen during a major holiday.
  2. Buy the Protection Plan. I can’t believe I actually BOUGHT the 5-year protection plan AND it covers $300 of food loss! This happened almost 4 years to the day of purchase.
  3. If the frost-free stops working, unplug it and defrost the old-fashioned way!



Photos courtesy of Maria Kemp.



In 2017, Maria established Beyond Decadence as Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery specializing in American, gluten-free, and French desserts. As Pastry Chef and Owner of Beyond Decadence, Maria Kemp wears many hats on any given day. In her words, “At the end of the day, awards, accolades, recognition, being a French Pastry School alumni simply don’t matter if I don’t consistently produce a remarkable product or craft a memorable private virtual baking experience. My goal is to exceed my clients’ expectations on every level and/or tantalize their taste buds. I thrive on and gain inspiration from building relationships with my clients and finding ways to share my knowledge to demystify the art of baking. I don’t deviate with every latest fad; I stay focused in areas where my skills can truly shine. I am deeply humbled and proud to have earned the privilege of becoming a thought-leader/speaker in the entrepreneurial community and private baking instructor for several corporations.”

You can connect with Maria at https://linktr.ee/beyonddecadence or contact her directly at pastrychef@beyonddecadence.com.





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