Living a ‘Studio Vegan’ Lifestyle

It’s hard to believe Naquasia “Nicole” Boyd’s baked goods are vegan. That was the general consensus at the Stagecoach Market, as customers tried them out for the first time. Last Sunday, the vegan baker rolled out her fan-favorite cookies, but she also introduced a handful of other delights.

Naquasia went to trade school in Manhattan for culinary arts, and began catering at the age of 18. She traveled and lived in both Japan and Italy, where she picked up her change in lifestyle habits.

In the end, it was her caramel cookie (buttery crisp) that stole the show. Once I learned that it’s not easy to make a vegan version of this popular cookie, I decided to reach out to Naquasia to find out more about her approach to baking and her vegan lifestyle.

How did you start?

It started when I was living in Italy. While there I experienced real food for the first time. It was a culture shock. The lady I lived with collected eggs from the chicken coop, bought her produce from mom and pop stores, and grew her own food. It made me guess everything. Back home, I started a vlog, to share my cooking recipes. It’s also when I became a vegan. I started a meal prep service when I was living in New York (she was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised in Manhattan and the Bronx). Then I moved to Buffalo last January. At the time, I discovered that I couldn’t sew anymore (sewing was a hobby – she has a background in clothing design), so I started cooking instead, which led to the Studio Vegan Bakery.

What brought you to Buffalo?

School brought me – Buffalo Buffalo State for fashion textile design, fiber art and merchandising.

How did you find the recipes for the products you cooked and sold?

I went to LA to research the vegan bakeries I had heard of. I started doing classics, but soon discovered that there were so much cookies and other baked goods that were not vegan, but could to be vegan. That’s when I came up with the idea for a sample pack of 25 different vegan cookies. People loved that I offered the different varieties, as well as the classics. For the caramel cookie (butter crisp), I had to make my own vegan caramel, and it really works! People have gone crazy! The world of cookies is so vast – I like to keep people guessing.

What are your other specialties?

Vegan wedding cakes. I have a background in textile design. Thought I’d switch from wedding dresses to wedding cakes [laughing]. I love making bare cakes, without all the frills, which hide the beauty of the cake. I like to push the boundaries of vegan cooking. You can make anything vegan – there are so many untapped ingredients in the plant world. Last year I made vegan macaroons. People thought they could not exist, but they exist.

You are vegan for the health and planet benefits, but also because you love animals. do you have a pet?

I have a dog.

What’s her name?

Chickpea.

Besides baking, you have a passion for gardening, don’t you?

Yes, I love urban gardening. Since becoming a vegan, I have moved to different places every year in search of more space to grow food. I grow as much as I can. It is important to have access to food that grows – there is an instant relationship with food. People are so busy these days that they have lost that connection. Currently I am growing over 200 plants (fruits, vegetables and herbs) in downtown Buffalo. I created all this space, as well as a dining area.

Do you think it is important to source as much as possible locally?

Being a localvore is important. The nutritional value of food is depleted as food comes from far away. How many kilometers does it take to get to your plate? There’s nothing better than growing a zucchini from seed and then cooking it. Not only do I grow my own food, but I pickle and preserve food. Same with juices. It’s amazing to go back and eat or drink something you made months (or even years) ago – it’s as good as when you first made it.

What’s next on your plate?

Once I’ve figured out everything on my to-do list, I want to teach people how to do it all on their own. Whether baking or the urban garden at the table. I don’t go to the supermarket anymore. It is important that people learn how to get their own healthy foods, which they grow and make. I never thought I would be a baker, let alone a vegan baker. My mother has a culinary arts background. I have been cooking for a very long time. I feel like I want to share what I learned with other people. I’m doing it with my vlog right now.

Where do you sell your products?

I’m at Bidwell Market on Saturdays, Stagecoach Market some Sundays (including tomorrow), on my site, etsy, and may end up doing one more market. I just ordered a larger blender to accommodate the growth.

Nothing else?

Be kind to your customers and give them more than they ask for.


Follow Naquasia as she shares her passion for vegan food…

facebook.com/StudioVeganCook

www.instagram.com/studiovegan

www.instagram.com/StudioVeganbakery

www.studiovegans.com (website | cooking class | personal chef experience)

www.etsy.com/shop/StudioVegans

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