Renowned chef Stephanie Nass spoke with us about her passion for the culinary arts, and how she went from hosting weekly dinners while in culinary school to becoming the founder of Victory Club and Chefanie.
Tell us about where you are from and how your background influenced your passion for the culinary arts:
I grew up in Westchester County, NY. I was lucky enough to have studied in France during high school. I was eager to explore the rich gastronomic culture of France—ever since I was a little girl, I loved cooking and was inspired by the art of food. I practically came out of the womb ready to put cupcakes in the oven!
I stayed in NYC for college, where I attended Columbia University to study Art History. I’m in love with beauty in all different forms, and I learned all about the history of art from amazing professors. I also loved Columbia because it gave me access to many different work opportunities. While in college, I worked in a few restaurants, including Balaboosta and Park Avenue Seasons, as well as art galleries and an art investment fund. After graduation, I moved to Palo Alto to work at a software company to understand better how businesses operate. After a year out West, I moved back to New York and have been here ever since.
How did your move to NYC lead to your current career?
When I had moved back to New York, I transferred within the company I was working for in California. I enrolled at the International Culinary Center in NYC at night. My classmates in culinary school were driven and equally passionate about different culinary techniques and styles of cooking. While I was getting my degree at ICC, I started hosting dinners at my apartment, which eventually turned into Victory Club, a supper club I founded in 2014. Victory Club also became the inspiration for my catering business and Chefanie Sheets.
Tell us a little about Victory Club and the types of events you host.
Victory Club is a supper club that brings together young professionals over culinary and visual arts. We offer at least two events to our members every month, partnering with institutions, museums, and art galleries to make more programming available to our members. In January, for example, we hosted a dinner inspired by Nelson Saiers. He spoke to our members about his background and his experiences that led him to create his art. For example, he created a gumball machine called “Cheap Money,” inside of which were acorn shaped capsules that were full of 10 dollar bills instead of gumballs. So for 25 cents, you would receive 10 dollars. Cheap Money, indeed… This was supposed to represent a trend in Wall Street. We created a big gumball cake inspired by this piece.
How did your current work develop from Victory Club?
Chefanie is a culinary lifestyle brand that encompasses products, services, and content. The products we make are Chefanie Sheets, cakes, cookies, donuts, lollipops, etc. In terms of content, we offer recipes on our website and social media channels. We cater in the New York Area; I love to make colorful and bright hors d’oeuvres, big treats bars, and creative seated dinners.
Victory Club inspired my catering style and the launch of Chefanie Sheets. I create art inspired meals for Victory Club events, and the Chefanie Sheets were a way to make dessert decorating easy for the homecook.
What are some of your hobbies and interests?
My number one favorite thing to do in the world is what I do every day! I love food, I love art, I love entertaining, so my work is a dream. As a break from work, I love music, fashion, and volunteering around NYC food banks.
How do you define what it means to be powerful and confident?
For me, being powerful is having the opportunity to positively impact other people and improve lives using your influence. To be confident is to believe in what you are doing and having faith that it is going to work.