Home LifestyleCareer A Chat With The Creators Behind Local Brand ModernFoodScene

A Chat With The Creators Behind Local Brand ModernFoodScene

by Stephanie Spear
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Thinking about baking a cake conjures up images of sugar, butter, vanilla extract… all the good stuff. Now, add olive oil. It sounds crazy, but the reality is something delicious and memorable. Nicolette Turano and Sarah Slater are the women behind ModernFoodScene, a bakery where everything is made with olive oil, including vegan and gluten-free options. The cakes are decorated with edible seasonal items like dried flowers and herbs, making them a feast for the eyes as well. The Montclair Girl caught up with Nicolette and Sarah to learn more about their New Jersey-based business.

ModernFoodScene montclair

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: Tell us about ModernFoodScene.

Nicolette + Sarah: We offer olive oil-based baked goods nationwide, including vegan and gluten-free options. ModernFoodScene began as we began perfecting our cake recipes while gifting them to family and friends as hostess gifts. We received overwhelming feedback and decided to share our olive oil cakes with the world. Our cakes are simple, versatile, a feast for the palate and the eye. Each cake is a gift, to be enjoyed toasted with coffee, or as the finale to a celebratory occasion or meal.

MG: What is your background, professionally?

Nicolette: I graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), grew up around restaurants, and am a co-founder of My Dad’s Sauce.

Sarah: I have a degree in psychology from Manhattan College as well as a background in plant-based food brands. We are best friends from childhood and share a flair for style and emerging food trends. 

ModernFoodScene

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: What is your connection to the area?

N + S: We grew up in Nutley, NJ, and would spend most of our weekends walking around, exploring, and dining in Montclair. Nicolette’s Dad owned restaurants in the area where we both worked throughout high school. 

MG: How did you end up starting this business and why did you choose to locate it in Montclair/Essex County?  

N + S: We met Jason Rosenthal, the owner of Brick x Dough on Walnut Street, and quickly became friends. Allowing us to use his commercial kitchen helped us get our business off the ground – (thank you Jason and Brick x Dough team!)

Read More: Jaleesa Mason: Pastry Chef, Entrepreneur, + Food Network Show Competitor

MG: How do you stay connected to the community?

N + S: We stay connected to the community by offering local giveaways and collaborating with other local businesses. We hosted a supplies drive for a Newark-based non-profit called wGtNJ which distributes food and essentials to the homeless.  We have a grain-free, refined sugar-free vegan cookie collaboration with @justbobbidotcom, who is also based in Montclair. We also use products from Sicilia Mia in Montclair for our pistachio cake.

ModernFoodScene

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: What are some of the more popular products?

N + S: Our most popular cake has to be the lemon olive oil cake with edible dried flowers. Our cookies are a hit too.  Our personal favorites are the pistachio cake – it tastes like pistachio ice cream.  We also like the Chai olive oil cake – it tastes even better toasted. 

MG: What’s something that customers/readers would be surprised to learn? 

N + S: Customers are sometimes surprised about how we use olive oil to bake but trust us, it’s better than butter. 

MG: Where do you find inspiration?

N + S: We are inspired by each other. We are constantly sharing knowledge of the food industry and trending products. Social media definitely plays a part in our brainstorming sessions.

ModernFoodScene

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: What advice would you give to a young, would-be entrepreneur?

N + S: Just do it! If you have an idea and a passion you’re already halfway there.  We did not have a single order before posting on social media. That’s when we decided to send our products to influencers and when we realized our hobby could become a business.

MG: What has been your biggest professional success?

N + S: Getting a write-up in thrillist.com and northjersey.com, as well as our first orders nationwide.

MG: What’s something that you want to experiment with?

N + S: We would love to experiment with savory ingredients.

Local Fun 

ModernFoodScene

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: What is your favorite restaurant in Montclair/Essex County?

N + S: Hard to choose! Here are our favorites: Brick x Dough, Faoborg, Palato, La Salbuen.

MG: What is your favorite boutique in Montclair/Essex County?

N + S: We like Jones Road, Curated Home & Living, and Moss & More.

MG: What do you enjoy most about this area?

N + S: The endless options of great food!

MG: What are some of your favorite activities to do in the area?

N + S: Visiting La Serra gardens during each season, and going to the farmer’s market then brunch on the weekend.

ModernFoodScene

(Photo credit: @modernfoodscene)

MG: What are some other local businesses that inspire you?

N + S: Dry Goods Refillery and Chef V.

MG: What is your favorite outdoor place in Essex County?

N + S: Eagle Rock Reservation.

See More: The North Jersey-Based Private Chefs You Should Know

MG: What is something that you think needs to come to this area?

N + S: An Organic smoothie/juice shop.

MG: What is your favorite thing to do with friends in the area?

N + S: Going for walks in Brookdale Park. We also love trying new restaurants. 

MG: Where do you like to work out in this area? 

N + S: Hiking at local trails and Danceworks studios classes!

MG: How can customers find your product?

N + S: Customers can find our products on modernfoodscene.com and our Instagram @modernfoodscene. Our products are available throughout North Jersey and Manhattan, and available for shipping nationwide. 

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