mac·a·ron – a small round cake with a meringue-like consistency, made with egg whites, sugar, and powdered almonds and consisting of two halves sandwiching a creamy filling.
That’s the “official” definition, but what’s missing there is how amazingly delicious they are and how extremely tricky they are to make! These little sandwich-style pastries have been around for decades (they date back to 1792!), but have recently seen a surge in popularity. It’s no wonder, they’re adorably cute and with about a gazillion different flavor combos, there’s truly something for everyone.
Here in Boston, there’s a brand-new Macaronerie that just opened up in Union Square in Somerville that, months before its official store opening, has been making a splash with its innovative flavors, cute characters and out-of-this-world soft, fluffy texture. Anyone who has had a good French macaron know what I’m talking about. Gah!
Full-on mouth water happening right now. Without further ado, I’m thrilled to introduce Tamy Chung, owner of maca boston. Here’s Tamy’s story.
Before we start talking about maca, let’s start with you. What’s your story?
TC: I grew up in the restaurant business my entire life. My parents, along with my aunt and uncle all owned restaurants, and I worked in a really amazing restaurant in my teenage years, as well as helped out at a bakery in high school. It was hard, physical work, but I really just loved it. It was something different every day, and tips really helped when I was a teen!
Then, I went to college and did the accounting thing for eight years. It was a career that I appreciate now that I own a business, but sitting at a desk for 8+ hours a day really just got to me mentally and physically. I needed a side hustle, and was aching to find one. And that’s kind of how maca was born.
Ah, ha! Makes sense. Ok, now tell me about maca.
I started maca in my kitchen making french macarons for my friends and family. I really enjoyed the (tedious) process and baking has always been a way for me to show affection for the people I love. But the more I made macarons as gifts for my friends and family, the more they wanted them and encouraged me to make it official. So I did. I filed all the LLC paperwork, found a commercial kitchen and introduced maca to the public in June 2016 at the Somerville Flea in Davis Square, Somerville, MA. It was a hit and it really catapulted into a legit side hustle. I really just took it month by month, day by day. A little over a year ago I found out about Bow Market. I thought a storefront would be a 5-year plan. It ended up being a 2-3 year plan. It’s been a dream come true.
Wow! Just like that, huh? Ha! Seems easy enough. Though, I’m sure it wasn’t as easy as it seems… So, why the desire to pursue this path?
People are interesting and food drives people into this crazy happy. Ever bite into a favorite food and then kind of just start to dance in your seat and do a happy dance? Seeing that I can make someone do that with a product that I make with my two hands? That’s pretty incredible.
Yeah, that’s me. I definitely do that. 😂 AND I do know what that feeling is like (in a sense). I can totally relate. What are you doing that makes you different? What makes you stand out?
I care a LOT about the final product and making people happy.
I also care about quality of products, so I use high-quality ingredients because you can taste the difference. There are short cuts that I could do, but it just wouldn’t taste the same. I’ve had a lot of people come to me and tell me that they hated macarons until they tried mine. Or I’ve had people who have come to me and had their very first macaron (which is an honor) and continue to return as customers because others just aren’t the same.
I also think customer service is huge. If I can remember your favorite flavor, or your favorite color, or maybe that your daughter loves unicorns, people really like to see that you care too.
Means everything. I think that’s awesome. When did you have your first macaron?
I didn’t find out what a macaron was until I was 25. There just wasn’t anyone around that made a GOOD macaron. You had to go across the Atlantic for them!
Whoa! And after that, the rest is history! Ok, switching gears just a bit – what’s one thing that you learned when you were young that helped shape who you are today?
Hardwork/hustle! My mom was the world’s best hustler. Raising two kids, being a single mom, starting at a restaurant as a server to later being the owner? That’s legit.
Totally. Kudos to her! Now, if you could go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice – whether it be personally or professionally, what would it be?
Enjoy the ride!
Well put. Ok, quick fire time.
- Hunger strikes and you have ALL the maca flavors, what’s your go-to? Simply Vanilla
- Best maca mashup that you’ve created thus far: Almost every flavor! They’re unconventional. People can’t believe the flavors I make and it takes them awhile to pick!
- Ultimate maca collab – if you could collab with another local business to create something SUPER cool – what company would it be and what would you want to create? I’d love to do a Bow Market collab with the other vendors. I think that would be the craziest thing.
Final thoughts…if there’s one thing that want people to take away from your story and the mark you’re trying to make with maca, what is it?
Listen, I’m just a girl from a small town that chased my dreams. So many people told me I can’t and I shouldn’t. Listen to your heart, make your decisions. Fail, make mistakes, do all the things and just don’t regret anything. I chased the dream that makes me happy every day. You should too.
You can learn more about maca boston by visiting macaboston.com, hitting them up on social @macaboston or by stopping by the store – 1 Bow Market Way in Somerville, MA.