The Lowcountry has many talented chefs and bakers – we got to know a little bit about a cool cheesecake guy right here in the Lowcountry! Read on to learn more about Rick Olejarz, the Owner & Baker of Wattle and Daub Cheesecakes.
1. What inspired you to open up your own (cheesecake) business?
I enjoy cooking and would host dinner parties at home called “Table for Six,” in which I’d invite 6 guests and they would request any cuisine for me to make. The meal would consist of 4 courses that I referred to as (the preview, main attraction, intermission and the finale). I would prepare, cook, plate and serve each course, joining them at the table for dessert. My guests often told me that I should open a restaurant or start catering. I decided to take their advice and began catering just for fun, calling myself “The Etiquette from Connecticut.” My cheesecakes started to become popular so I re-branded myself as “Wattle & Daub Cheesecakes.” So, long story short; friends convinced me and it’s fun.
2. What do you enjoy most about making your cheesecakes?
Creating the design is lots of fun but it’s people’s reactions when they first see the cake, is what I enjoy the most. Watching them take their first bite followed by that “delighted pause,” as they taste it, is always a kick to see.
3. How many cheesecakes do you make a day, week or month?
I work restoring houses downtown during the day, so I have to limit on how many orders I can take each week. I also offer various sizes and toppings. The time of year and holidays also factor in. Typically, it can range from 1 order a week to 4 or 5. My limit is 6; due to the amount of time it takes to produce each order. I’ll increase it to 8 depending on the occasion.
4. Who’s ordered the most cheesecakes from you since you’ve opened for business?
Mostly, friends and returning customers order my cakes. I also donate cakes to several charity auctions and to the College of Charleston. I won’t say any name in particular but one customer has purchased 5 orders since I’ve been in business. Clearly, a big fan!
5. If Charleston were a Cheesecake, what flavor would it be?
Definitely peach! After all, peach is designated as the official fruit of South Carolina, 10 years prior to Georgia doing the same. I would probably add a center ring of chocolate flavored whip cream around the side of the cake to represent the architecture of the city.
Fun Fact: All my full size cakes come with three mint leaves (standing for freshness), three cranberries (for my New England roots) and three pecans (representing the South). I place three of each because Charleston is known as the “Holy City” and three also represents the “Holy Trinity.”
Learn more about Wattle and Daub Cheesecakes here