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Calli Marie Webb replaced cartoons with cooking

August 12, 2016 // by Denise M. Reagan

Calli Marie Webb started baking as a business while she still lived with her parents. The cramped prep space and lack of refrigerator storage sometimes resulted in a cake ending up on a floor. Her mom would tell her, “It's OK. It's just cake,” as she recalled on an episode of WJCT's Hometown in August 2015.

Years later, after professional training and various food-related jobs, she had the opportunity to become the food program manager of Brew in Five Points. In May, she raised more than $28,000 to fund the creation of her cookbook, Calli Marie BAKES, which is scheduled to be released in November.

Webb is one of six chefs featured in NOLA MOCA's Women of the Knife, a six-course dinner inspired by MOCA Jacksonville's Confronting the Canvas: Women of Abstraction on August 19.

Calli Marie Webb Brew Outside a
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

How did you become interested in cooking?

When I was 14, our cable got switched to a different company while I was at school. When I got home, the channel that was Nickelodeon was changed to Food Network, and I was hooked. Next thing I knew, I was begging my parents to buy me wine to cook with. I have been cooking ever since, but luckily I can buy my own wine.

What is your training as a chef?

I am from Jacksonville, Florida, and my entire culinary career has been here. In 2013, I graduated from The Art Institute of Jacksonville with my Bachelor of Arts in culinary business management. After that, I worked anywhere that would give me a job. I have done everything from team dining for the Jacksonville Jaguars to feeding the homeless at The Sulzbacher Center and even slinging grilled cheese on a food truck.

What are you doing now?

I am the author of Calli Marie BAKES and the food program manager at BREW Five Points.

Calli Marie Webb Brew Kneads Dough b
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Calli Marie Webb Brew Refrigerator Supplies c
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Calli Marie Webb Brew Baked Goods d
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

What foods do you love to cook?

All things dough and batter. Plus anything that includes copious amounts of butter.

What has your experience as a woman in the restaurant world been like?

I am pretty lucky to have had such a great experience in the industry here in Jacksonville. All of my peers and friends have never treated me lesser due to my gender. I can hang with the guys and cook next to the guys; they still drink me under the table, though.

What do you want people to know about your food?

I want people to know that food is my way of expressing myself. It's my love letter to the world. Each cake or pastry I make is crafted with the intentions of making your day and to connect with you. I want you to look at a cake I make and say, "I didn't even know a cake could look like that." We strive to use the best ingredients and to respect each one of those ingredients. If I am going to use organic local produce, I want you to be able to taste the full potential of that produce.

Calli Marie Webb Brew Plated Food e
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Calli Marie Webb Brew Toast f
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.
Calli Marie Webb Brew Canned Vegetables g
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

What course will you be preparing for Women of the Knife and what are you thinking of including?

Cake for dessert, of course!

How is Confronting the Canvas inspiring your ideas for the event?

I was blown away by the exhibit. I was honored to be included in a dinner that pays tribute to a collection of work by insanely talented women. I want my dish to be a culinary reflection of one of my favorite pieces in the show. I can't wait.

Buy your tickets to Women of the Knife now.

See more photography by Brandi Hill on her website or on Instagram.

Calli Marie Webb Brew Kneads Dough Above h
Image courtesy of Brandi Hill.

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