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    Charles Farriér of Crumble & Whisk Turns Cheesecakes into Irresistible Works of Edible Art

    Charles Farriér is the Monet of cheesecakes. His colorful creations, often topped with edible flowers and glistening jewel-like fruits, are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate. We first met him at the Millsmont Farmers’ Market in Oakland, and were impressed by both his delicious desserts and his sincere passion for baking.

    At a time when the U.S. Supreme Court is mulling over Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission—after Masterpiece refused to create cakes for same-sex wedding receptions—it does our cheesecake-fueled hearts good to profile a baker who is out and proud, and who derives joy from tailoring his cakes to his loyal clientele’s needs.

    In our case, a relative who loves cheesecake is pre-diabetic. “No problem,” Farriér said, while carefully taking down the order. He then whipped up the most delicious sugar-free desserts. He also offers an incredible Vegan Delight cake with hints of vanilla and lemon.

    His team specialties in artisan cheesecakes. Crumble & Whisk makes traditional New York-style (I Love New York) and various scrumptious chocolate versions, but also features seasonal flavors like Beet and Berry, which marries roasted organic baby beets with blueberries, lemon, and a fruity red wine reduction. For the holidays, Farriér has flavors like Pumpkin Spice with Bourbon, Winter White Chocolate with Cranberry Purée, and even Dirty South, which includes roasted organic sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spices and—you guessed it—bourbon again, but this time in a caramel drizzle.

    We enjoyed our recent conversation with this talented dessert craftsman.

    San Francisco Bay Times: Have you always enjoyed cooking and baking? Who were some of your early mentors, and what are some of your fondest memories related to food and cooking?

    Charles Farriér: I have always enjoyed all aspects of the culinary field. I am proficient in both savory cooking and pastry arts. As a culinary professional, I have been learning about food since childhood. My mentors consist of my father, culinary instructors, celebrity chefs, and other local food businesses in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    San Francisco Bay Times: How did you get started in the food business?

    Charles Farriér: I was invited to a company party at my former place of employment. I baked a strawberry cheesecake and it was a big hit at the party. My co-workers raved about the cheesecake, and they insisted on me selling the product. It was at that point, I had a vision for my own business.

    San Francisco Bay Times: Why did you decide to focus on cheesecakes, in particular?

    Charles Farriér: In the beginning, I was doing brunch catering and cheesecakes. However, cheesecake sales grew too rapidly for me, and my creative spirit was more geared towards the artistry of cheesecakes. 

    San Francisco Bay Times: Your cakes come in a variety of flavors, some of which are very inventive. Did you develop all of your own recipes? What inspires you when coming up with unique flavor combinations?

    Charles Farriér: I developed all of my own recipes over the years through trial and error, so it took a lot of dedication, finances, and critical thinking to master my baking formulas. My flavors are inspired by the four seasons, availability of ingredients, trending ingredients, food magazines, dinning out, and chef friends.

    San Francisco Bay Times: What are some of the challenges that you have faced, owning and running your own small business, and how have you resolved these challenges?

    Charles Farriér: I have had to overcome many obstacles with the operation of this business. The most stressful part of running my own business was being the only baker for a few years. Another business challenge is keeping a steady clientele. I have hired a full-time baker and our business contracts are growing around the Bay Area. Also, Crumble & Whisk is preparing to launch our products nationwide.

    San Francisco Bay Times: What advice would you give to others, and particularly individuals in the LGBT community, who are hoping to start their own business?

    Charles Farriér: I tell aspiring business owners to go after their goals and to be a fighter. You should never be ashamed of yourself, or your past, and you should always push to better yourself. Also, you need to study all aspects of the business field you plan to start-up your business.

    San Francisco Bay Times: Most importantly, how can we buy your yummy cheesecakes, especially now that the Millsmont Farmers’ Market has ended for the year?

    Charles Farriér: Our cheesecakes are available through our website (crumbleandwhisk.com). Also, you can find our products at Urban Village Farmers Market on Fridays and Sundays in Old Oakland, the Ferry Building (CUESA) on Saturdays, and the Montclair Farmers Market (in Oakland’s Montclair Village) on Sundays. Also, we are available for catering personal and corporate events.