We had the good fortune of connecting with Cristina Fernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cristina, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
One of my personal mottos is “A day without risk is a day wasted.”. This has become a personal mantra to motivate myself to trust my instincts and push the boundaries outside of my comfort zone.
Every single step I took in building I Knead More was a risk that greatly rewarded my professional development.
The first risks I took in building I Knead More was planning my concept and presenting it on a public platform like social media for the world to see. Of course, I was pretty nervous during the infancy of my concept. I did not anticipate starting my own business for, at least, another five years because I did not feel I had sufficient experience to launch my own concept. Also, I did not know how my recipes and ideas were going to be received and what feedback I was going to expect from potential clientele.
I was able to persevere by reminding myself all the training and educational opportunities I had during my five years in the New York restaurant industry were all building blocks to the moment when I was finally able to branch out on my own.
Due to my constant risk-taking, I was able to provide bread items to restaurants, build stronger relationships with my clientele, expand my recipe-developing knowledge, and showcase my concept and ideas around Miami including the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
In summary: risks can be intimidating and a little uncomfortable, but the ends justify the means.
What should our readers know about your business?
I Knead More is my at-home microbakery located in Brickell focused on breads and pastries catered for the Miami flavor palette. I Knead More came to be when I moved back to Miami from New York during the height of the pandemic. I started this concept as an opportunity to express both of my worlds, Miami and Manhattan, through my menu items. My best-selling menu item is the Guava and Cream Cheese Babka—taking my favorite New York staple and reinterpreting it with Miami flavors.
I believe what makes my concept stand out from other at-home bakeries is my background in Manhattan fine dining and the uniqueness of my menu since I experiment with different flavor profiles and combinations. When people describe my concept they usually say it’s comfort foods with a fine-dining twist.
At the moment, I Knead More is a one-woman show. Playing every role to operate my business completely solo has been no easy feat. Wearing the hats of: owner, head baker, line cook, accountant, social media manager, porter, marketing manager, etc., despite its challenges, has been incredibly rewarding.
The lessons I’ve learned along this journey of building my business are: trusting my instincts while listening to outside perspectives, trusting my training to execute my recipes and ideas, and treating every experience with clientele as a new opportunity for growth.
I want the world to know is my brand is compelling, high-quality, and always evolving. About my story, I want the world to know it’s a story of perseverance, resilience, and it’s only going to get better from here.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Miami has been home to me for the past 20 years, and I’m proud to have seen this city diversify in cuisine and cultural institutions over time.
If my best friend was visiting Miami for the first time, here’s how their trip would go down:
Monday: Visit the Perez Art Museum followed by a scenic lunch at Verde
Tuesday: Take a stroll around Vizcaya, have lunch at G in Coconut Grove, check out the shops around Cocowalk and, for dinner, an omakase tasting at The Den in Azabu Miami Beach
Wednesday: Have breakfast in Versalles in Little Havana, visit the historical sights around Calle Ocho, dinner at Paperfish Sushi in Brickell
Thursday: Visit the Wynwood Walls, dinner at Uchi, followed by cocktails at Gramps
Friday: Check out the latest exhibits at The Rubell Museum of Art followed by lunch at Kyu and cocktails at Beaker and Gray
Saturday: Have a beach day in Key Biscayne
Sunday: Drag Brunch at the iconic Palace Bar in South Beach
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could not have made I Knead More into the beloved concept it is today without the unwavering support of my family and my close friends in New York and Miami. I’m thankful for my loved ones for being my early taste-testers, cheerleaders, and therapists.
Also, I’m forever grateful to the Miami Food Blogger community for the explosive launch of I Knead More. This time last year, I took a risk by going into their DMs on Instagram, as a complete stranger, asking them to try my baked goods. Thankfully they were all so enthusiastic to check out my concept and share it with all of Miami.
Finally, I’m grateful to the chefs and fellow pastry cooks back in New York who worked with me and gave me an opportunity to grow with them.