Prior to opening her Bedford-Stuyvesant bakery, Brooklyn Baby Cakes, Myriam Nicolas said she lived “the typical immigrant experience.”
“You come to this country, you go to college [and] you get yourself a good career,” Nicolas, who is of Haitian descent, told PIX11’s Tamsen Fadal.
But after working as an engineer for six years, the self-described foodie realized that she wanted something different.
“That was never really my true passion,” Nicolas said. “I always had a creative spirit.”
She fell in love with the culinary field, opening her first business nine years ago. Then, in 2017, she expanded again with her Brooklyn-based cafe Brown Butter. Nicolas said she wanted the new business to have a signature item, so she worked for months to engineer something different: The perfect biscuit recipe. Luckily, she had no problem finding help for that venture.
“I have three teenage boys who were more than happy to eat a ton of biscuits,” Nicolas said.
Nicolas has also received help outside of the kitchen.
Brown Butter’s customers have included Gov. Kathy Hochul and actor Penn Badgley, and Nicolas credits the Bedford-Stuyvesant community for supporting the business during tough times. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown Butter got an extra boost in the form of a $10,000 grant from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. The money helped Nicolas maintain her staffing during a period of decreased revenue.
LISC Executive Director Valerie White said the nonprofit has doled out 284 grants to small businesses, totaling more than $1 million.
“We were looking specifically to help minority-owned businesses,” White explained.
LISC focuses on supporting businesses that are going to sustain and enrich their surrounding communities, she said.