PLATTER CHATTER: Yummies, Starting Over Never Tasted So Good
BY farah f. jadran I PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY KANE When she was 18 years old she was already a pastry chef.
“I went to BOCES in high school and received my first job at an Italian restaurant,” said Dianna Bellaire, owner of Yummies Cheesecakes LLC. Dianna had several pastry jobs over 10 years including positions at the MONY Towers, Williams, Onondaga Golf and Country Club and Wegmans.
“I always loved baking,” she said. As a Utica native, Dianna says she grew up with “the best bakeries around.”
After having her first child, Dianna opted to go back to school for her business degree rather than re-entering the workforce. Since the food industry offers odd hours, and many hours to boot, she decided to become a loan officer at a credit union. This offered a schedule that worked with being a mom. But after 15 years at the credit union she was devastated to lose her job. “I didn’t know where to turn next,” she reflected. “However, one day I was thinking about a memory of my deceased father. We weren’t close due to divorce but, when I was 18 he asked me to make my specialty dessert.” She made him a cheesecake that day.
He told her, “Your cheesecake is better than Manny’s Cheesecake (in Utica). Someone should go into business with this recipe!” Her father always wanted to open his own restaurant and believed that Dianna was talented enough to do so. And if you revert back to the beginning of this story, Dianna is the proprietor of Yummies, which highlights her sweetest talent– cheesecake.
What makes Yummies stand apart from the rest? “All of my cheesecakes have cake bottoms. “I never liked graham crackers or cookies on cheesecake,” she said. “They were usually greasy or soggy.” Also, she adds her “secret whipped frosting” to the tops of her cheesecakes.
“My cheesecakes are always fresh and many people have stated they are very light and creamy.” Dianna says she also has many cheesecake products that aren’t available anywhere else: Cheesecake lollipops, tiny cheesecake platters, cheesecake brownies and a line of savory cheesecake dips. And it isn’t always about being the sweetest. Yummies offers an array of sugar-free cheesecake flavors.
“We won the Taste of Baldwinsville last year for best appetizer with our Buffalo Chicken Cheesecake Dip,” Dianna said. And without a doubt she added, “We take cheesecake to a new level.”
Recently the bakery rolled out its new “Cookie Creations” product line. Dianna has five basic cookie doughs and customers can add toppings of their choice. And this Easter, Dianna says she will bring back the Spumoni Cheesecake.
“I get restless with ideas. I am constantly thinking of new ideas,” she says. “I am working on a ‘fusion dessert’ with combing two desserts together with cheesecake.”
As a home-based business, you will see Dianna’s pastry perfection at many local restaurants and catering companies such as Avicolli’s, Pier 57, Kelley’s, Bayberry Seafood, Diamond Catering, Oncenter, Events Company and Dough Boys Pizzeria. “These businesses gave me a chance and people recognize my cheesecakes because of these fine businesses.”
Besides sharing her passion for pastries, Dianna reiterated that she started her life over at age 40. “You are never too old to do what you are meant to do,” Dianna said. “If you have a passion for something, forget about the money and forget about what people will think. If you follow your heart and your passion, the rest will take care of itself.”
For more information on Yummies, visit www.yummiescheesecakes.com.