MY BLUE TEA CHEF PROFILE
Rafaela is so proud to be living in Australia, to become a part of Australian culture while also keeping her Brazilian roots - by bringing in her passion and dedication to rock-solid healthy food any respectable grandmother or mother would make for her family out of love.
You eat and you nourish your body. You're not just eating to satisfy your hunger.¨
Owner and Chef, Yummy Raw
Far from a Raw Deal
Most people associate cakes and bakes with sugars, ovens and probably a few notches too high on the calorie scale. Rafaela Baia is set to change that mentality with her line of raw, yummy cakes. Veronica Lind from our marketing agency, Vermilion Pinstripes sits with Rafaela to understand this raw cake business. We could not believe it when we heard about her raw cakes. Can an unbaked cake even be called a cake? When we saw her beautiful creations we really just had to try them and find out more! We spent a lovely afternoon getting to know Rafaela over a big pot of blue tea (and more than a few slices of her raw pandan cake).
Discovering it Raw, an interview with Rafaela Baia
Mindful eating is my passion and also a part of my lifestyle. It is what gave birth to Yummy Raw. I love and appreciate good food and I believe there is a way to create healthy, raw, dairy-free, gluten-free, plant-based "happy foods" with no refined sugar. That is how I got started experimenting with recipes and sourcing for ingredients to create my beautiful raw cakes!
I use wholesome, healthy, nutrient-packed ingredients such as cashew, almonds, dates to give my cakes sweetness, texture and body. For food to be qualified as "raw", it cannot be cooked over 40 degrees so the nutrients and vitamins do not get destroyed in a typical cooking process.
I was cooking in numerous restaurants and those years of observing and experimenting really consolidated my passion in raw foods. I was working in a vegan restaurant when I got obsessed with how incredible plant-based food can be. Once I discovered this, there really was no turning back to cooking with or eating processed foods and chemical-based unhealthy products.
"…they are dairy-free, gluten-free, no refined sugar but they taste amazing. You won't believe that there's no sugar in there, that's why I make them with a lot of pleasure. I'm very proud to sell something that is going to be nourished … you can get lots of nutrients and minerals because they don't break down when you cook them like a normal cake."
- Rafaela Baia
From Brazil to Australia
Brazilian families love food and many of our family memories surround cooking. Sunday family lunches were the norm and cooking up a storm was something we looked forward to. Making food together was something that brought us close together. And in those days, our grandparents and parents were big on eating healthy and well, with authentic ingredients straight from the earth. We may not have had a word like ´ecological´ or ´organic´ then, but the food we ate were certainly as real as they could get. We were a generation lucky to have grown up eating real, healthy food. My family even had a food catering business, so I literally grew up in a food environment where cooking and organizing anything related to food was the norm. I guess I kind of got my career laid out for me from the very start!
I moved to Port Macquarie because my husband got a job here, and we really wanted to take life more slowly. I was living on the Gold Coast when I first came to Australia, then I was living in Sydney and Lake Cathie. I love living in the middle north coast. I have been living in Australia for over 12 years now and I simply love it here.
"I am so proud to be living here, to become a part of Australian culture while also keeping my Brazilian roots by bringing in my passion and dedication to rock-solid healthy food any respectable grandmother or mother would make for her family out of love."
- Rafaela Baia
Making my beautiful raw cakes is the gift my Brazilian roots have given me. I am also very proud of myself for picking up a new language when I first got to Australia, and starting off a new career myself. Those are achievements my family and I really value. I think I have done pretty well - these were big changes in my life and a lot of moving, changing and settling in.
Things sometimes got overwhelming and stressful, and that is when a quiet afternoon of cooking with my healthy, happy, raw ingredients help me to set my balance straight again.
You eat and you nourish your body. You're not just eating to satisfy your hunger.
Cooking raw food is like my hobby, passion, lifestyle, career, therapy all rolled into one! It has really made an amazing change in my life.
Ingredients for the Future
I set up Yummy Raw as a company to give me the space I need to experiment and build up my repertoire of raw dishes.
I grew up being fed on good quality ingredients and that was a way my family showed love and consideration. Now in my business, I continue to uphold that tradition and I use only high quality ingredients. I am feeding customers who trust in what I am creating and I know however much heart you put into something, you get it back tenfold. So much of my heart is invested in this business, it is important to give the very best I have and to know I have not only delighted the tastebuds of my customers, but also that my creations are nurturing and beneficial to their bodies too.
I have also been sourcing for produce locally as far as possible. I love the sense of community that I build wherever I go and if I make the extra effort to just look and ask, life brings me the connections I need to propel my business!
It has really boosted my confidence finding local businesses within Port Macquarie. Talking to people, getting to know them, making new connections, and it has really helped me fire up my passion when I meet like-minded people I can collaborate and work with. Setting up a business can feel like a tough, lonely journey at times, so meeting people who share my passion helps to keep me going. I love the sense of togetherness with the people I have met and how supportive everyone has been. This is definitely not a competitive dog-eats-dog arena. Everyone has their own unique space to grow, helped by each other.
One of my recent connections is with My Blue Tea. I adore their all natural plant-based powders. These are absolutely beautiful ingredients and it got my creativity buzzing in the kitchen. I found My Blue Tea on Instagram and it was love at first sight. I was mesmerised by the natural blue colour of the butterfly pea flower. I knew I had to get my hands on some of that powder and I already had ideas whizzing in my head about what I could do with it.
"Thanks to My Blue Tea, I have created three really pretty new cakes - the Roselle Raw Cake, the Pandan Raw Cake and the Layered Blue Pandan Cheesecake. All raw, natural, unique, delicious, healthy, beautiful and absolutely guilt-free when savoured! Yummy Raw cakes are already power-packed with nutrients - when I add My Blue Tea´s superfood powders to them, that really amps up the cakes in their nutrient value, as well as making them look so incredibly pretty!"
- Rafaela Baia
I am excited to see what new connections I can continue to make in Port Macquarie. I know that is how my creativity grows!
Labour of Love
Yummy Raw allows me to pursue my passion and create a future for my family - a future built on very healthy foundations! I want to continue to work with plant-based desserts. I love seeing the final product, and here is a little secret confession on my part - my favourite part of the whole cooking process is putting in the garnishes and finishing touches. It is so fun and kind of like a treat for myself to say, well done, you have made another amazing delicious raw cake!
Sometimes my experiments do not work out and things do not go as plan, but that is what I also love about cooking. It is very forgiving. I experiment, try different ingredients and methods, and if it works, great, if it does not, it is a lesson learnt. I can dust it off, wash things up, rest with a cup of coffee and try again the next day!
I am excited about where my future is going with Yummy Raw. I know I have strong roots to back me up in my culinary career. I have a lot of saudades* for the food and family feasting atmosphere I enjoyed as a child. And in some ways I want to extend this and share this with my customers. Yummy Raw is my labour of love and I am a very lucky person to have grown up with beautiful food and to now be the one sharing this with so many people.
* Saudades- (Portuguese) feeling of nostalgia or melancholic longing for the past or for something or someone one loves.