Joan O'Connor Makes Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Forks up, Phoenix! Chow Bella and Roosevelt Row present the third annual Pie Social Saturday, November 3rd, from 2 to 6 p.m. on Roosevelt Row in downtown Phoenix. We've got an all-star line up of bakers making pies for you to taste, and from now til Pie Social, we'll introduce them to you, one by one. We challenged each to make us a dish -- other than pie.
Today: Joan O'Connor, who runs Honey Moon Sweets Bakery with her husband, Tim, makes Mediterranean pasta salad.
Tim and Joan O'Connor share many things: a business, three kids, and a love of cooking. They met in the registration line on the first day of culinary school and have been working alongside each other ever since, starting in New York and eventually working their way to Arizona.
In 1996 the two founded Honey Moon Sweets Bakery and Dessert Bar in Tempe and for almost 17 years now, they've been supplying more than 100 restaurants all over the Valley with sweet eats from their kitchen. A model example of married-couple- turned-dynamic-business-duo, the O'Connors split their roles evenly, both in the bakery and at home.
Most often you'll find Joan in the kitchen, managing the sizable baking staff, training fresh out of school culinary students, and applying the intricate details to their phenomenal wedding cakes. Tim, on the other hand, is "the face" of the business, as Joan puts it. He's the one making the sales, bring in the clients, handling the deliveries, and representing Honeymoon at some of the biggest baking events in Phoenix (ahem, Pie Social 2012).
Today we got a rare chance to hang out with Joan.
It's 10 on a Tuesday morning when we arrive, and while many business are just opening their doors for the day, many of the staff at Honeymoon Sweets Bakery have been working there since 2 (yes, a.m.). Needless to say, Honeymoon Sweets is a well-buttered baking machine, and October through December is one of the busiest seasons, what with weddings, hotel events, and the holidays.
Tim is out doing deliveries and Joan greets us in the main entrance where a dessert bar is stocked with excess treats from the kitchen; a room to the right, sectioned off by a glass wall, displays some of the most elaborate weddings you've ever seen. It's their room for cake tastings and along the walls you'll find bridal magazine covers, and articles featuring their prize-winning desserts.
Joan leads us back into their labyrinth of a kitchen where the baking staff is cutting out pumpkin shaped cookies, layering sheets of baklava, frosting cakes, and more. It's basically a sweet tooth's dream back here. Joan walks over to a table where she's set out the ingredients for Mediterranean pasta salad.