People 09 July 2018
In an impeccably decorated and meticulously organized Manhattan Uptown apartment, Stephanie Nass without hesitation responds to the final question of our interview, “Free time? I don't know what that means," she says offering another homemade cookie decorated with a Chefanie Sheet. “This is my oxygen. This is my fun."
Nass, known to most only as Chefanie, is the founder and CEO of Victory Club. Launched in 2014, Nass' private club features her culinary art, both in presentation and taste, inspired by the visual arts of the space. She soon followed this venture with the premiere of Chefanie Sheets in 2016, a line of artistic edible premade cake sheets. To succeed in two self-funded business ventures is impressive, but what separates Nass is a determination to achieve so much so young.
"The accomplishments of this young entrepreneur are not only a demonstration of Nass' expertise, but a testimony to the power of conviction" - Photo Courtesy of Chefanie
Having only turned 27 in April, Nass is every bit the entrepreneurial success story. The cultivation of what she describes as “a lifestyle brand that is culinary focused," is a showcase of both her talents as a chef and an artist. However, the accomplishments of this young entrepreneur are not only a demonstration of Nass' expertise, but a testimony to the power of conviction.
When you ask most children what they want to be when they grow up, you'll usually get a carefree and uncertain response. Perhaps one day an astronaut, another day a mermaid, or maybe even a cowboy—but if you had asked a young Nass you would have gotten a definitive answer: a chef.
“I've gone by Chefanie, my nickname, since I was a little girl because I've always loved cooking, passionately since I was very, very young," Nass remarks sitting amongst her practice cakes, always close by in case inspiration strikes. “From the time I was 16 I said, ok I want to do this my whole life, this is going to be my career. So, every decision I've made from that point has been to that end."
Nass' commitment to becoming a chef led her to Brittany, France when she was only 16. Although Nass was too young at the time to attend culinary school, her desire to be fully immersed in French culinary culture inspired her to take every opportunity to learn from various residents of the small town. She spent her free time training informally in local restaurants and snatched every opportunity to eat in Paris.Upon her return, she attended Columbia University, where she earned her BA in Art History, and she also attended night classes at the International Culinary Center in New York City where she received her Grand Diplôme. But determined to understand business from the ground up, Nass moved to Silicon Valley following graduation to join a fast-growth tech company, “I worked out there for a year [and] learned so much. [I] learned how to do financial models, how to project headcount and all these things I never would have known."
After moving back to New York City Nass began to host dinners in her shoebox apartment for her friends, “these dinners that I was hosting, which I really organized because I wanted to cook for people, I also did because I wanted to way to meet new people," says Nass. “I would tell all my friends please bring one person that everyone can meet, and make new friends. Art was really the springboard for conversation. As you'll see my apartment is full of my artwork, artwork of artist friends, of mine and art pieces I've collected."From this ritual, Victory Club materialized. Nass began hosting events through the club and has hosted elaborate dinners in New York, the Hamptons, Miami, Nashville, London, Rome and Vienna in just three years. With most of the club members located in New York members pay $100 monthly for invitations to private dinners and discounts to public events. Each event differs in style and format, created and cultivated by Nass who fuses “the culinary [and] visual arts" together. On top of conceptualising the food, she hand paints the menu cards and designs the place settings, to align with the artist's vision.
Following the success of Victory Club, Nass launched Chefanie Sheets. The chef, who jokingly acknowledges her perceived persona as “the cake girl", decided to market the sheets after her dessert accessory began to be popular with her social media following. Since the collection was released, Chefanie Sheets have been featured on the Today Show and Nass has appeared in various digital channels with the product, including Refinery29, Instyle and Business Insider.
Despite Nass' tremendous success, she shows no sign of stopping. In the next five to ten years the young entrepreneur hopes to open her very own store which she describes as “not your typical bakery." But don't expect to only see the baking mogul's signature cakes, as she plans to venture into prepared catering, premade food featuring her family's and her own recipes.
“For me my way to spend a day is taking on a challenging project and completing it," says Nass, whose success stems not only from her talents and artistic ideas, but most of all her dedication to hard work. She is a model of social media success story, networking both in person and electronically to develop a self-identified brand. This may seem like a difficult undertaking, but for Nass this has been her technique from the beginning.
3 min read
Email email@example.com to get the advice you need!
Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist