What is this "BraveTart" you speak of?

Brave Tarts

In 2010, this guy started following me around with a camera. Sounds creeptastic, but no: he was a professional photographer and he wasn’t so interested in me, but my desserts. That happens sometimes when you’re a CIA trained baker.

This guy was Rosco, a friend of a friend who used to hang out at Bruton Stroube, helping shoot food photography. But as the years wore on, he found himself pointing his lens at brides and grooms more than knives and spoons. He longed for a creative outlet and proposed we join forces to make a cookbook. When I’d finished laughing, I told him I wanted nothing to do with it, but if taking pictures of food would scratch the itch, he could drop by my kitchen any time.

So he did. Week after week. We nicknamed our project BraveTart. Eventually we compromised on the cookbook issue by using those photos to start a blog. BraveTart became home to Rosco’s food photography and my recipes and writing.

In the end, however, blogging caught up with us.

In October of 2010, I received an offer to head up the pastry department of a restaurant that hadn’t even opened its doors yet. By the following summer, Rosco’s BraveTart portfolio landed him a plum job at an advertising firm out of state. Sarah Jane, my good friend, fellow baker and professional photographer took over as Pastry Paparazzi, and in 2012 I wound up with a cookbook deal (the irony is not lost on Rosco).

The process was longer and more labor intensive than I ever imagined, but BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts finally hit store shelves on August 15th, 2017 and even became a New York Times bestseller (yeah, I’m still in shock). BraveTart is currently available from IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Target, and pretty much wherever else you like to shop in the real world or online.

BraveTart = Stella + Rosco & Sarah

cookie in my pocket

So, I’m Stella Parks. I graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2002. After a few years working in some really terrific restaurants, I had a quarter life crisis. Did I really want to play with chocolate for a living? So I gave my notice, cashed out my savings, and moved to Tokyo.

Some people buy a fancy car. Some people have an irresponsible fling. Some people enroll in language school in Shinjuku. In any event, after a while I came to my senses and realized yes, of course I want to spend my life playing with chocolate. But instead of finding myself in debt for a Jaguar or nursing a broken heart, I gained functional fluency in Japanese. As far as life crises go, it was fairly productive. I moved back home to Lexington, Kentucky and have spent every day since baking something.

I make every element of my desserts by hand, from the sprinkles on the cupcakes to the peanut butter cups stirred into banana ice cream. In February 2012, Food & Wine magazine named me one America's Best New Pastry Chefs, then promptly dipped me in chocolate sprinkles.

These days, I’m senior editor at Serious Eats, where I managed to snag a James Beard Award nomination for roasting sugar. It’s a super tasty thing to do, and I hope you try a batch soon.

Feel free to drop me a line with any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you.

Get a hold of me:
BraveTart on Facebook

Follow along:
BraveTart on Instagram
BraveTart on Pinterest
Email Subscription

Stephen “Rosco” Weber

Rosco Weber

Rosco’s love of food photography is why BraveTart exists in the first place. He earned his degree in photography from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Post graduation, he came back to his home state of Kentucky and established Sideshow Photo. Publications such as MIX Magazine and American Songwriter have featured his work, and you can find his photography in the liner notes of musicians like Patty Griffin and Alejandro Escovedo.

Rosco’s back in Carbondale now, where he works as an account manager and house photographer for Arthur Agency. He may have left Kentucky, but you haven’t seen the last of him yet…

For a list of posts featuring Rosco’s photography, click here.

Get in touch with Rosco:
Sideshow Photo

Sarah Jane Sanders

Sarah Jane Sanders

Sarah earned her degree in Fine Art with a focus on New Media at the University of Kentucky and later received the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Hy Sheanin memorial Scholarship.

Ages ago Sarah and I worked together at Bluegrass Baking Company, a phenomenal local bakery specializing in European style hearth breads. Her background in professional bread & pastry production makes her an especially thoughtful food photographer.

See all of Sarah’s work on BraveTart here.

Say hullo to Sarah Jane:


The New York Times: Bestseller List, Lots of Healthy Options, But Don't Forget Dessert!, The Year’s Best Baking Cookbooks, for Novices and Pros, Three Gorgeous Cakes for the Holidays, Recreating Snack Cakes, Cookies and Chips at Home

Wall Street Journal: 3 Desserts You Can and Should Eat for Breakfast, Milk's Favorite Cookies, & Smoke Signals

Washington Post: ‘BraveTart’ is packed with clever upgrades of baking classics

Boston Globe: Stella Parks Takes on Classic American Desserts

Chicago Tribune: 10 Best Cookbooks of the Year

Food & Wine: Best New Pastry Chefs: Stella Parks, Hazelnut Brown Butter Brownies & Star Pastry Chefs Reveal the Best Ice Cream Spots

Bon Appetit: The Cookbook Gift Guide

Saveur: BraveTart is the Best Baking Book We've Seen in Years & BraveTart's Stella Parks on How Corporate Marketing Invented American Dessert

Publishers Weekly: BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts (Starred Review)

Food 52: Why BraveTart Should Be Your New Go-To Baking Book

The Splendid Table: The evolution of red velvet cake, an iconic American dessert (includes audio)

Marketplace: Pumpkin Pie (includes audio)

Here & Now, WBUR Boston: Cookbook 'BraveTart' Explains Little-Known History Behind America's Favorite Recipes (includes audio)

Family Circle: Facebook Live: How to Make Pie Dough (video)

Toronto Star: 5 Cookbooks to Stuff in a Home Cook's Stocking

Grub Street: A Baking Book That Celebrates the Science of Junk Food, The 2017 Grub Street Gift Guide

Book Page: Top Pick in Cookbooks

lifehacker: Lemon Rinds and Sugar Are All You Need to Make Fresh Lemon Syrup

Huffington Post: Sweet Potato Doughnuts

MSNBC: The Sweet Treat Goes Savory

Real Simple: Simply Stated: Homemade Sprinkles

Fox News: The Best Food Blogs to Check Out Now and Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving Desserts (video), Stella Parks' Delicious Desserts

BonAppetit.com: A Possible New Year's Resolution

Garden & Gun: Everything But the Pie (recipe for Brown Sugar, Pear & Pistachio Cake) and Pumpkin Pie Spiced Brownies

Godiva: Tri-Layer Panna Cotta recipe and video

Eating Well: Whip Up Dessert

Martha Stewart: Summer (Cooking) School: Delicious Reads You'll Eat Right Up, For True PB&J Fans

Southern Foodways Alliance: Give Me Some Sugar

Gourmet Live: Weekly Roundup: Homemade Gifts

Food News Journal: Best of the Blogs

BoingBoing: Champagne Marshmallows

Women’s Health Magazine: What We're Reading This Week

US Airways Magazine: Tour de Fork

Serious Eats: Get to Know Stella Parks

David Lebovitz: Making French Macarons

Nation’s Restaurant News: What We're Reading This Week

Apartment Therapy: the Kitchn: Macarons Made Easy, Make Macarons Like a Pro, Keep the Cute, Nix the Nuts: Nut Free Macarons, Expert Advice, How to Make Sprinkles, Like Nutella? and Caramelized White Chocolate Cocoa.

King Arthur Sift: Why Weigh