Vy Howard at Syndesi Desserts is self-taught baker who admits she has “perfectionist tendencies.” She makes all of her custom desserts from her home bakery outside of Atlanta. Her passion for baking stems from a desire to connect. She says, “Syndesi is connection. It’s the Greek word for connection. My whole business is an overflow of my love of hospitality and connecting with people.”
The Easy-Bake Oven That Started It All
“My baking started when I was in elementary school. I’m an immigrant, my family came here from Vietnam when I was three. Being a little immigrant child and going to an American school meant I saw all these kids with their Twinkies and their Oreos. And we didn’t get that! My family would not buy that. But I was a kid and was enamored with sugar. Very young I saw a commercial for an Easy Bake Oven. And I was obsessed and told my parents, “I want that!” I saw the commercials with little girls and little cupcakes and brownies. And I wanted that. I begged my parents. I begged, begged, begged them for it! But Asian parents are big on academics. So I could not get it until I proved to them that I could get straight As. Thankfully I was able to do that after a long time of begging.
I finally got it, and I was like, “Oh my gosh! This is so awesome!” And I used it for the first time, baking something like brownies. I ate it and was utterly disappointed. Utterly disappointed. I said, “Oh my gosh, what is this? It’s like plastic!” Somehow I was able to tell that it didn’t taste right. That is the moment that birthed my love for things from scratch. That moment. So as an elementary school kid I began baking from scratch and I could tell the difference.”
Striving for Growth and Thriving
“Literally 2 years ago I could not fathom baking. At this point I hated decorating cakes because I didn’t have time to create the flawless look I wanted. I had gotten married and had kids, my husband was in seminary, and we were super busy in our church. I only baked out of practicality, not joy. That mental drain sucked the joy out of baking.
Then at the end of 2015 my husband and I were on a date in Barnes & Noble. I was checking out the baking books and cook books. There was a baking book all about female bakers. I happened to turn to a page, there was a quote that said “Don’t rest on your laurels.” I had never heard that phrase. The baker explained what it meant. She said, “Back in the Roman days victors got laurel wreath as their trophy. But you shouldn’t rest on your past victories.”
Up until the end of 2015, my husband and I were super active in our church. And then for some reason, it felt like we were kind of in a funk. Life felt kind of stagnant. Thankfully my husband and I have a really great relationship. We’ve been together for 17 years. But life in general lost it’s color, looked a little dim. I lost my zeal. And when I read that a light bulb went off. I was complacent, I was lazy mentally and spiritually, and emotionally. I was resting on past victories. I would justify it in my mind, “Oh it’s okay. You have two kids, and you’re busy.” It was a self-justification for stagnancy and complacency. So when I read that quote I thought, “That’s it! I’m resting on past victories.”
That was a total mind shift. After that and and some personal reflection I prayed, “God, I would really like to be renewed in different areas of my life, and a part of that is the joy of baking. God, will you please restore the joy of baking for me?” That was the shift. That was a huge shift. It really stuck with me. I don’t want to rest on past successes, I want to be striving for growth and thriving.”