Hollis Wilder is the owner of Sweet! by Holly, which is a cupcake shop located in Orlando, FL. She is also a two-time Winner on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”. Besides running a successful business she also does a lot of motivational speaking and is releasing a cookbook in May 2013 called “Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan”. Media Mikes had a chance to ask Hollis a few questions about cupcakes as well as her new book.
Mike Gencarelli: When you opened your store, Sweet! by Holly, did you ever think you would be where you are today?
Hollis Wilder: Absolutely not! But in truth I did not plan most of the incredible things that have happened in my life, personally or professionally. What I have gotten far exceeds what I was hoping for!
MG: How does it feel to rank in the The Daily Meal’s Top 50 Cupcakes in America this year?
HW: Always great to get recognition from media sources, but the most important confirmation comes daily from regular customers who like what we are making and keep returning to buy more.
MG: Besides cooking you also deliver motivational talks and presentations to colleges and companiesabout empowerment, success and personal growth; tell us about that side of you?
HW: I speak about how we all need to find our own, “cupcake,” whatever that might be. Trust your inner voice and not the white noise around you. Food is a vehicle for me to communicate what is of value to me and how I try to give back to my community. I try to share the information that I have collected during my own personal journey. I love nothing more than helping others find their own excellence and develop the courage to pursue it.
MG: How did you decide to become an author with “Savory Bites: Meals You Can Make in Your Cupcake Pan”? Can you give us a sneak preview as to what we can expect from the book?
HW: I was pursued by one of the top publishers in the country, Abrams. Savory meals all prepared in a cupcake pan. It’s all about creating homemade culinary experiences without sacrificing convenience. also, I promote what I call, living life in portions. Instead of dishes that have no beginning or end, like a casserole, I put meals in the perfect portion of a traditional cupcake pan. I am promoting use of the savory bites in our new concept potluxe dinners, a reconstruction of old-fashioned potlucks but with a cutting edge perspective on ingredients and portions. Lots more to come on this as we approach release of the book in May.
MG: What else do you have planning in the cards for 2013?
HW: If i think about all the wonderful projects on my plate for 2013, I get totally overwhelmed. I’ve learned to stay in the moment and do what’s in front of me and things work out. I wrote the cookbook while running a growing business and managing a family with two small children, so basically I was creating meals and testing recipes while everyone was sleeping. This year will no doubt bring more challenges, successes and failures, but in the end I am grateful for all the incredible opportunities I have been given to challenge myself to be the very best Hollis I can be!