Cultural Stories

Black Chefs in America:
Camari Mick

By Kerry Hoffman
Camari Mick, Executive Pastry Chef at the Musket Room
Scrolling through Chef Camari Mick's photos on Instagram, you'll find her first dessert shot from the fall of 2013. It's a photo of a Curried Pumpkin Mousse Cake with Chocolate & Coconut artfully displayed on top of a stripe of Ginger-Beet Sauce. Tastefully shot in the kitchen of Morimoto in Philadelphia, the description demonstrates a nod to seasonality while the use of Asian ingredients speaks to the cuisine type of the restaurant.

This natural ability to hone in on flavors has influenced Chef Mick's dishes over the years. Though Chef Mick did not complete her formal pastry training until 2015, her whisking began years prior when she started baking to satisfy her own sweet tooth. While her Jamaican-born father and Brooklyn-born mother knew their way around the kitchen, Chef Mick worked on dessert, eventually selling her bakes to high school teachers along the way.
In November, 2020, owner of The Musket Room Jennifer Vitagliano discovered Chef Mick on instagram. Camari was pedaling doughnuts, literally biking around Brooklyn delivering her treats during the height of the pandemic. Jennifer hired Camari to launch MR All-Day, a cafe operating out of a truck parked in front of The Musket Room. The key to restaurant survival was creativity, making Camari's playful style and advanced pastry skills a perfect fit for keeping The Musket room afloat. More importantly, The Musket Room aims to be a melting pot of cuisines, taking influences from Japanese, French, Indian, Southern American and Lebanese cuisines. Camari's great respect for highlighting various cultures through her pastries made her the perfect fit to run pastry at The Musket Room. For example, her panna cotta is made with charred banana, Jamaican chocolate, and sesame, a true fusion of so many cultures in one delicious spoonful.
In 2022, her delicious desserts landed her as a semi-finalist for a James Beard Award. Critical acknowledgment of her amazing triumphs in her young 30s is an accomplishment, but it is Chef Mick's dedication to challenging the restaurant status quo that motivates her to lead by example. She is part of an entirely woman-owned and run restaurant group, working hard to build a respectful work environment, something restaurants have struggled with for decades. She has the opportunity to model what this industry can and should be - an industry that welcomes and respects diverse voices and experiences in and outside the kitchen.

At inKind, we celebrate chefs who are open to telling their stories as well as creating new stories to share. With Chef Mick's commitment to leading women in the industry, finding creative ways to showcase various cultures and cuisine styles, and dedication to a balanced life outside of the kitchen, Chef Camari Mick hits the sweet spot.
Celebrating Black History
All Year Long
We're bringing to life the stories of great Black chefs this month and throughout the year because the culinary impact Black chefs have isn't reserved for February. Join us year-round as we celebrate chefs like Gregory Gourdet (Kann), Eric Mckree (Filé Gumbo Bar), Keem Hughely (Bronze), Matt Horn (Horn Barbecue), and Jahmond Quander (1799 Prime Steak and Seafood) for their innovation, cultural impact, and incredible talent.