Tyler (Tai) Davis of Alchemy Bakery is known for his elemental aesthetic and culinary prowess. So what is this talented pastry chef’s secret ingredient, which raises his wedding cakes a slice above the rest? He is only limited by the stretch of his imagination.
“I have a Willy Wonka-type of mindset,” Davis says. “Very rarely do I do the same thing twice. Client customization is my jam – that’s what I love to do.”
His one-of-a-kind cakes and desserts often showcase a metallic element and incorporate isomalt (artificial sugar alcohol) decorations. Chocolate and buttercream are also favored ingredients and often appear in his signature creations for area businesses.
Davis ensures his clients stay “extremely involved,” with a questionnaire that ascertains their likes and dislikes, theme and other wedding details. “I take all of these things and build cakes for them,” he describes. “Most often, the biggest tier [represents] the bride, the middle tier is the groom’s signature flavor and, on top, is an amalgam of both.”
The baking process is one that Davis finds therapeutic, but he thrives on challenges. “I’m very much into alchemy and transformation from one thing to another,” he says. “I like to merge my clients’ world with my world.”
The only thing that seems to unnerve the respected chef is transporting his avant-garde cakes. “I don’t think people realize how much of a reality show it is when designers or pastry chefs have to deliver really tall tiered cakes,” he explains with a laugh. “It is a juggling act and very stressful. We live in St. Louis – the land of potholes! That’s the most difficult part [of the process].”
Davis produces his magic through three entities: Alchemy Bakery, which houses his artisan cake and specialty desserts, including cheesecakes, macarons and chocolates; Æther, for which he puts on his consultant hat for restaurants; and Sacred Geometry, through which he designs experimental edibles and sculptures.
From collaborative dinner series to art shows, Davis continues to be inspired by food. Follow along on his social media, @iofthetyler, for enticing imagery, and keep a pulse on the hashtag #blackwillywonka for some fun surprises Davis has cooked up for 2021.