There's a reason professional chefs on television steer clear of baking: It's not easy.
One wrong pinch of this, or dash of that, and suddenly your batch of cookies tastes a lot like Fluffy's dog biscuits.
Fortunately, Mike and Lindsay Fiore and their kitchen staff love a good challenge. With the right mix of down-home recipes, fresh ingredients and attention to detail, they've turned 417 Center into the Village Bake Shoppe. Literally. It is the place people in Lewiston go for cakes, pies and cookies.
The success of the business, Mike Fiore said, stems from "hard work and being true to what the business is all about: providing from-scratch desserts - premium from-scratch desserts. It's all the way from buying the best ingredients to having the best staff. We have the best staff anywhere you can go. And just doing it old-fashioned; just doing it the honest way. Never cut corners; never substitute anything that shouldn't belong there. It's just sticking with those recipes."
The Fiores' Village Bake Shoppe is celebrating its first anniversary on Saturday. Guests can stop by for coffee, soup or dessert, and try some free samples.
The first year "went better than I expected," Fiore said. "The response and the warmth from Lewiston, Youngstown, all the surrounding areas, Niagara Falls, was great."
The Village Bake Shoppe created a logo, a website, a gift basket business, made many brides happy with primo wedding cakes and hosted the Travel Channel's "Best of the Road" "Best for Food" judges in year one of the Fiores' management.
Some of the Village Bake Shoppe's top-selling items include its "Mile-High Apple Pie," which Fiore said feeds "a lot" of people; its "Cake in a Cup; and almost 20 different varieties of cookies.
"The 'Mile-High Apple Pie' is 5 pounds of apples, locally grown of course, they're sliced (and mixed with) our secret recipe," Fiore said. "We serve it with caramel; we serve it with walnuts. It's the perfect dessert for everything. In the summer, we serve it with our vanilla gelato, so it's more like that a la mode kind of thing.
"Our 'Cake in a Cup' is something that we created here. It's our from-scratch cake; it's our mousse filling and our buttercream. And any flavor you can imagine - chocolate, red velvet, Oreo, peanut butter, lemon raspberry. And it's very popular because, what's nice is, people can get it and they can go and walk around with it.
"And our cookies speak for themselves. Everything is made from scratch here. The recipes are incredible. They're just the best."
Come by the Village Bake Shoppe on Saturday and see for yourself. The store is open from 7 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.
Find the Village Bake Shoppe online at http://www.villagebakeshoppe.com/.