Support Village Voice News With a Donation of Your Choice.
…24-yr-old Lindener Shellon Massiah reflects on Ambrosial Cuisine
By Naomi Marshall
Over the years, homemade-food businesses have been flooding the fast food industry in the mining town of Linden offering a wide array of local and foreign delicacies.
Ambrosial Cuisine owned by Shellon Massiah, offers a variety of creole food, pastries and cakes for delivery or takeaway. Massiah is an undergraduate student at the University of Guyana who turned her hobby, cooking, into a business.
Massiah grew up in Mackenzie, Linden with her mother, father and three siblings. There she enjoyed watching her mother prepare a variety of foods, and eventually started preparing her own meals which turned into a leisure time activity, and one of her passions.
“Baking was always a hobby for me. I learned to bake from my mother by just watching her in the kitchen. Whatever she knows to bake I would watch her and I learned to do the same,” the 24-year-old said.
However, in 2018 Massiah wanted to channel her time and energy towards starting up her own business to aid in paying her university fees, so she decided to put her skills and hobbies to great use and began baking on a small scale to sell in December of the said year.
The young woman started off selling just 10 boxes containing five different pastries or snacks every Sunday under the signature name, ‘Snack pack Sunday’, and would use social media as her main medium to advertise her business, posting her delicious snacks frequently on the Facebook app.
“The snack pack is basically a box of five different pastries. You get to choose and customize your box with which ever pastries you want. This is my signature service because everyone looks forward to their snack pack on Sundays,” the young woman noted.
After receiving positive reviews and encouragement from friends and family, Massiah continued to expand her business, widening the variety of pastries she offered and even extended her services to Georgetown.
“My family, friends, and customers are who actually drives me. They always challenge me to do new stuff. They keep pushing me so I keep expanding and trying new things and the feedback are very positive so that keeps me going and ever since, my business has continued to grow so I keep at it,” she explained.
Ambrosial Cuisine also does catering for events such as weddings, business functions and birthday celebrations, among others.
Massiah told Village Voice News that being in university and owning a business is challenging, but the warrior in her does not give up.
She stated, “Dealing with school and my business is very challenging however I am a warrior so I try to get a balance. Due to the pandemic school is online so sometimes I would login to classes and listen to my lectures while I am in the kitchen baking. Some days it’s overwhelming but I get through it”.
The young woman who described herself as fun, loving, hardworking and down to earth, aspires to one day have her dream kitchen and an Ambrosial Restaurant.
“My aspiration is to one day have this dream kitchen of my own where persons can come and sit and enjoy good food in a wonderful atmosphere where they can see their food being prepared,” she expressed.
Last month-end, Massiah added a new product to her Ambrosial Cuisine brand, ‘Shelly’s Pickles’, which is pickled fruits in a container. She offers three types of pickles namely, mixed pickle, pickled mango and pickled cucumber. This new venture has seen the products being sold out in a matter of days, and the need to increase the quantity of pickles being supplied since they are on demand.
In the future, the Lindener who, aside from baking, also enjoys modelling, reading, writing and cycling will be increasing the variety of pickles offered and will also have her products sold in supermarkets in Linden and Georgetown.
Massiah’s advice to upcoming entrepreneurs is to be consistent with the services they offer and to invest in packaging which can take their business from one level to another.
She stated, “Use your talent. Each and every one of us have talent and we just have to use it. Also with business you need to be consistent and that is also one of the things that have kept my business going and growing. You just have to put in the work and keep at it and you will be successful.”
“Another thing is how you promote your business. It does not take much to invest in a little packaging. People buy with their eyes so when they see a nice package and presentation they will purchase,” Massiah added.