OH MY LORD!
Picture a bite-sized homemade cheesecake square, dipped in chocolate, drizzled with caramel then rolled in toffee. Next, imagine a shot glass brimming with a rich custard-filled pastry puff that melts in your mouth. Finally, conjure the image of a dark chocolate brownie truffle that explodes like a flavor volcano when you pop it in your mouth.
In sampling these scrumptious desserts, you might exclaim, “Oh, my lord” and mean it in more ways than one. That would be because local pastry chef and caterer, Marcy Lord, created them. Just five months ago, her new business Marcy Lord Specialty Desserts and Catering was born and is growing rapidly with more than 1,000 followers on social media and a cadre of loyal clients who swear by everything she makes. “Everything is familiar as something traditional but also unique in flavor, and with a surprising twist. That is just Marcy,” gushed loyal repeat customer Kristina Roberts.
Almost three decades ago, it was Marcy’s signature cheesecake that launched her career. Marcy entered a baking contest sponsored by the Antelope Valley Press in Lancaster, California. Though her cheesecake did not win the grand prize, she did make the finals, and cheesecake lovers noticed. Her phone began to ring with orders. Soon the self-taught baking whiz was making an array of desserts for customers of her “back-door business.” She continued, “I loved it, and it served as a great way to pay the bills.” Since that long ago beginning, her dessert-making business has been a constant in one form or another. Each place she has lived with her family, her cakes have found their way to special occasions, celebrations, and eventually onto the menus of local restaurants. People become hooked, and Marcy’s creative instincts and passion for producing the highest quality homemade products have kept them coming back for more.
After raising her family in Fresno and working as a catering manager for many years, in addition to running her dessert business, Marcy relocated to Carmel. “I decided I wanted to focus on making a go of the dessert business and beat the pavement there, until restaurants took me on,” she said. Despite loving Carmel, in 2018, with grandchildren beckoning, Marcy and her husband David moved again, this time to Chico, where she thought she would retire. With someone who at one point delivered a hundred cakes each week, retirement did not sit well. Marcy became restless and was drawn back to baking. She found a great match as the pastry chef for Farwood Bar and Grill in Orland. LeighAnn Byerly, who, with her husband Jim, owns Farwood, said from the time
Marcy began there, people were coming in asking for her desserts. “She was extremely passionate, giving, and creative. Everything was picture worthy.” Unfortunately, Marcy’s time at Farwood was short lived, because the Covid-19 pandemic closed everything down just three months after she started. Marcy was ready to get busy with her mixing bowls after sheltering in place for several months. With the holidays approaching, she thought she would casually post on the Foodies of Chico Facebook page that she would be available to make some holiday cakes. “I was bored and almost depressed. I missed socializing and thought I could make a little extra money to spoil my grandkids,” she explained. Here was her simple and humble post:
Hello Chico Friends . . . . new to Chico and new to this group. Lots of talented folks here so I hope there’s room for one more. My specialty is mini desserts and dessert buffets although I do whole cakes, hostess gifts and sweet and savory charcuterie boards. Quick intro: previously a pastry chef in Carmel By The Sea and most recently, Farwood Bar & Grill in Orland. Covid has left me unemployed so I’m sharing some of my specialties in hopes that some might find the need this holiday season. Thanks for taking a look!
The response was immediate and almost overwhelming. Word of mouth and photos on the Foodies Facebook page, along with a quickly established loyal following, have built a steady stream of orders. Marcy is thrilled. “I’ve been doing this for thirty years, and it’s second nature to me. It is creative, and I’m ready to build something. I would love to grow the business and have one of my kids take over eventually,” she said. Chicoan Kim Davis speculated about the demand for Marcy’s desserts, “Chico definitely leans heavy in the dessert direction. There’ve only been a few key players in town for a while now and she’s brought a fresh new vibe which people are drawn to.” And it’s not just cakes that customers are clamoring for.
Her time as a catering manager and her creative flair in the kitchen equipped Marcy well to produce spectacular charcuterie boards, which have become extremely popular. Marcy said she has always been drawn to the dazzling food displays on cruise ships and in places like Las Vegas and takes inspiration from these. “You eat with your eyes first. When you see something that looks captivating and delicious, you want to try it all,” she said.
She makes both dessert and savory charcuterie boxes and boards, in serving sizes from a date box for two all the way up to a huge display for fourteen. There is even an option for a large gathering-size, grazing table. “People are ready to party!” exclaimed Marcy. She also said that what sets her apart is that she makes her charcuterie ingredients from scratch, including dips, spreads, sauces, chocolates, toffee, seasoned nuts and more. Kelsey Grabin recently hired Marcy to cater a bridal shower with a full sweet and savory grazing table. “Marcy made my vision a reality. Everything was so good,” she raved.
Moving forward, Marcy will be growing the business. She currently has two employees, who she clearly adores and says she could not do without. Restaurant orders—she supplies The Red Tavern in Chico—have begun to pick up. She is considering options to expand into the Chico farmers’ markets and possibly a grab and go model for dips, sauces, and desserts. “People are always asking to purchase these items to add to what they are serving at home,” she mused. Her talent and delicious food are clearly something our community is excited about and so is Marcy: “I’m letting it take its course, and good things keep happening. I’m taking it as a sign that I’m supposed to be doing this,” Oh, Lord, yes!
- Marcy Lord Specialty Desserts, the Facebook page, posts almost daily with gorgeous photos of her food. Message Marcy there or phone her at 530.354.6878 to ask what she can make for you.
What’s the story with Charcuterie?
Charcuterie boards are popping up on restaurant menus, and gorgeous photos of these laden trays are filling the pages of magazines and social media. If you search charcuterie on Instagram you will get over 1 million delectable hits. According to Progressive Grocer, consumers are seeking products that provide an upscale, portable, social, and convenient eating experience. Charcuterie boards fill all these requirements and appeal both visually and to the appetite.
Historically, charcuterie can be traced to 15th century France. The word is derived from two French words meaning flesh (chair) and cooked (cuit) and describes shops selling pork products. In those times, the trays were comprised of various cured meats. Nowadays, most anything goes, and these bountiful displays include meats, cheeses, dips, fruit, nuts, olives, crackers, breads, and much more. There seems to be no end in sight, with 2021 bringing a rise in themed boards from breakfast and pancake charcuterie, “jarcuterie,” which has an array of the ingredients in a jar instead of on a board, taco-cuterie and even french fry boards with lots of dipping sauces.
Bonnie and Ken Chapman are partners in many of life’s great endeavors including marriage, raising two children, global travel adventures and writing for Edible Shasta-Butte. Both are avid trail runners and you can find them enjoying Upper Bidwell Park or wherever the trails take them.