Jul 17, 2012

A Cheap Tart full of pride and passion

While at a networking event for the bridal industry, I met a young lady with a sparkle in her eyes, I asked what her business was and she said "Cheap Tart!" with a big smile. Anyone who knows me, knows that humor is the main ingredient in my life, so needless to say, she had me at Cheap Tart! Here is a little about Dinah Grossman and her exquisite business. You must try her goods for words cannot explain the joy I felt at Easter when I laid eyes on her tarts!

Meet Dinah!

Tell us a bit about yourself and Cheap Tart? 
 I moved to Chicago from New England five years ago, and started Cheap Tart two years ago. I've been working in restaurants/pastry since I was 15, so starting my own project was a natural step, I suppose.

What/Who inspires you?
 I'm inspired by cookbooks, kitchen supply stores, food photography, and wonderful home cooks and bakers.

How would you describe your work?
My pastries can be quite rustic or more polished. I grew up in rural Maine (most of Maine is rural), but my parents are both from big cities and visiting family in Chicago and New York was a part of my upbringing, too. I think my work is a combination of those two sides of myself, those two different influences.

Please describe your creative process. 
If I see a photograph or try a dish that inspires me I think about how I can incorporate the elements in the picture or the flavors into a pie or tart. I'll start using a base recipe or method that I know well, and work off of that until I come up with something new. I'll play with a recipe or adjust it until I get it just so. 

What propelled you to start your business?
 I never went to culinary school, so even though I had many years of experience working as a pastry chef, I found it difficult to get a job as a pastry chef once I moved to Chicago. Finally I read a blog written by a woman with zero experience in pastry who had started her own cake business and seemed to be succeeding. I figured if she could do it, there was no reason I couldn't do the same, but better.

 What do you think is the most wonderful part of owning a business?
 I like the sense of ownership over my whole life that owning a business gives me. I make my own schedule, and even when the hours are insanely long or I'm exhausted, I'm doing it for myself, and that makes it worthwhile.

What are your struggles of owning a business? 
Never being able to "leave the office." I'm surrounded by my business at all times, and that can be exhausting. It's also stressful knowing that there's no one there to catch your fall--you either succeed or fail and have only yourself to hold accountable.

Best business advice you’ve been given. 
Someone who was giving me advice on securing a business loan suggested I "Go get laughed out of a bank." In other words, you should expect to fail, and fail repeatedly, but that it was through those failures that you learn what you need to succeed.

Advice to other creative entrepreneurs? 
 Love what you're doing enough, and believe in it enough to be okay with sacrificing in other parts of your life.

If you can tell the world one thing, what would it be? 
Everything is so much easier if you can learn to cooperate and collaborate with those around you.

Well it turns out that Miss Dinah and I share more than one thing in common! She bakes sweets, I eat sweets ~ we both have double SS in our last name ~ she's a food writer ~  I read about food ~ She studied web design at The School of the Art Institute Chicago ~ I live near Chicago ~ last but not least she lived in Buenos Aires Argentina (my birth place) while she studied the Argentine Tango. Yes! This tiny Lady packs a punch!

Here is Dinah dancing the Tango, from my beloved and native Argentina!


  1. Soooo pretty! The Cheap tarts that is:)

  2. I wish I had just one of her talents! good to see you at market today, hope Louise is better.

  3. i count myself very lucky to be a good friend of hers. she's a very dynamic gal!