FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2021
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Why don’t you tell us who you are?
Hi! My name is Larisa. I am the owner of Glitter Thicket. This is a small, vegan cafe in Nyack and I feature a ton of local artists and creators also.
I think we talked about this, but you are from here. I guess the question is what keeps you here? What do you love about the Nyack community?
I love Nyack. I feel really lucky that I grew up here. So many artistic people. I think it has just a beautiful vibe and also kind of like, a magical vibe. The stores that have come and gone and also that have been here over the years have all been really interesting. So much creativity. And then I just love the location. The river, the mountains, and it’s close to the city. Nyack has just a great energy. I really love it here.
How did you start out in baking? In food? What was your entry point into the industry?
I’ve worked as a waitress but I never really had an interest in food. What I was interested in was animal rights, so. Most animal abuse occurs in our food system so that’s what I got really into when I was in school. Then I decided to focus my energy on farm animal rights issues because those are most of the animals we treat badly. So I never really was interested in food but ended up talking about it a lot in my life. I was on more of the educational side for a bit but then I thought it’d be really sweet to have a vegan spot and have it be more pleasure-based. You know, pretty treats and nice sandwiches rather than depressing videos all of the time to kind of persuade people to eat less animals.
I love the unconventional paths we all take to where we are. Since becoming the owner of a business based in food and community… what has that come to mean to you as an entrepreneur? Food and hospitality?
I served and worked at ODs for a while and I experienced this there as well: the intimacy of food. It feels very cozy. I’ve only been open here a few months and feel like I’ve met a lot of people that now feel like I’ve known them for a long time. People come in to chat and talk about food issues or people’s feelings. It has been really nice. So having a food establishment feels very… there’s something really primal about eating. There is a community. A nice feeling of sharing and giving food. I want to create a pleasant food experience that’s also good for animals and the planet. So, I’ve had a really good time.
Joy is everything, right? What would you say is your favorite thing to bake? If you had to choose.
Definitely like, very specific cakes that people request.
What’s a cool cake you’ve made recently?
I did a wedding cake over the summer that was very floral that I loved. I just did a deer cake. And then a cake with a bunch of giraffes on it. Both of those were really fun. I’ve been talking to somebody about a rainbow-y fox cake. I love all the colors. And then I made a seahorse cake over the summer that had a sugar seahorse made out of smashed jolly ranchers. So anytime anybody requests something it’s kind of exciting if I haven’t done it, and then look up how to do it. I love cake orders.
Would you talk a little bit about running a small business? How has that experience been for you?
Everybody has been really, really helpful. I haven’t had any harsh judgements. And people are constantly giving me suggestions or ideas or just, if people seem pleased that’s been lovely. People come in here that are interested in things that I hadn’t consciously been like “I’m interested in that!” so it’s been really cool. The exposure to different human beings has been really interesting. And I like being in cozy spaces. So getting to create the space. It’s nice that I get to come to work, and I feel like I’m half home and half at work.
Some challenges? I can get overwhelmed because I try not to say no to anything. So I have a lot of things going at once but I guess that’s good. It’s overwhelmingly positive.
Overall, if we should take one thing away from an experience at Glitter Thicket, what would you want that to be?
That’s really hard. My main passion is eating in a gentle way. So I guess that we can have really magical, colorful, vibrant experiences surrounding food that don’t come at the price of an animal's life or environmental destruction. Eating should be joyful and it can also be really gentle, too.
Joyful and gentle. Such a lovely way to put it. Thank you so much, Larisa.
Follow Larisa on Instagram.
Check out her website.
Beautiful cakes everywhere.