Introduced to the craft by her mother, Hamer expressed herself through baking and cooking at church while excelling at school in social studies. Later she would earn placements at various hotels and restaurants around the city, receiving her degree in culinary arts from George Brown College before launching Edible Bliss 11.
The genesis of Edible Bliss 11
Hamer started Edible Bliss 11 in 2018 as a side business while working in various restaurants throughout the city. She helped families who didn't know what to feed their kids daily during the pandemic, and her clientele grew through word-of-mouth advertising.
"I provided a personalized catering service to clients who invited me to their homes for special occasions," Hamer explains. "This trend caught on, and everybody wanted the private chef experience."
Now Edible Bliss 11 has merged with Boukan, a Toronto Black-owned business, to create a new Haitian-Caribbean fusion restaurant. The new fusion restaurant offers unique elements of sweet and savoury flavours to diners with an innovative food collection. Hamer's cuisine combines West Indian, Canadian, and Asian influences, and her menu creates a lot of buzz.
She also distributes her famous Jamaican rum cheesecake at Black-owned stores across Toronto.
Purpose, passion, and nuance
Hamer's motto is that food must be made with love, flavours, and nuance. So she takes great care in ensuring that all her sauces are made from scratch to create a memorable eating experience for individuals.
She loves seeing the delight on a diner's face as they take their first bite of one of her signature dishes. The diner's love for her food is just as rewarding as the accolades she's received along the way.
In 2019, she was recognized by ByBlacks.com as the best Black Canadian baker, and in 2013, she competed in Food Network Canada's "Donut Showdown," placing second.
Teaching her love of food to others
Hamer advises everyone to learn cooking to control what they put in their dishes instead of always eating out. "It doesn't have to be a chore. It should be a fun activity," she says, "by gathering everyone in the family and assigning a task to each person, this unites everyone for that meal. You're bonding over the love of food. It nourishes your soul."
A great advocate of cultural food, Hamer wants to see African cuisine promoted more extensively in Canada. "African food is so flavourful, and I would love to see more of that come out in the mainstream," she says. "It starts at home, and we should embrace our cultural elements and food and be proud of it."
Fond of sharing her pride and skills, Hamer also provides cooking classes to aspiring chefs. For example, during the pandemic, she offered courses over Zoom and managed to cook all kinds of meals.
"That was so much fun, but I couldn't wait until the pandemic was over so we could do in-person cooking classes. So, I still want to do that."
When life gives you lemons...
As a female cook and entrepreneur, Hamer has faced numerous challenges. "The culinary industry is largely male-dominated. So, as a woman, I've faced discrimination several times. As a result, I had to go above and beyond with my skills to amplify my voice," says Hamer.
"But you learn to roll with the punches and get stronger as you move on to different kitchens."
Hamer wants more female chefs to play a dominant role in the Canadian culinary industry. She believes consistency is the best way to succeed in the culinary industry. And she defines consistency as a combination of various elements: consistency with putting out content, consistency in making good food, and consistency in approach.
"Even if you fail during the learning process, be consistent. I'm where I am now because I stayed consistent with cooking and embracing my failures. When you show that you're resilient, people tend to notice," she says.
Hamer also believes that every successful chef should adopt new cooking styles with an open mind and be willing to listen to other chefs.
"Food is vast and incredible. We don't know it all. I still have a lot of potential for growth and learning. So, it's always good to be open to other people's ideas, learn new ways of doing things, and give it your twist."
"Look for something that you're passionate about. If it's not food, find what you're passionate about and be consistent because it will help you to grow."
Hamer has been writing a cookbook for three years, which is almost complete. Based on healthy dishes and alternative sauces, "it takes you back to the basics to learn how to eat certain foods and make them taste good," she explains.
Next, she plans to find a dedicated spot for EdibleBliss11 and implement more food ideas in the restaurant.
Finally, Hamer invites everyone to visit Boukan. "Brunch is from 12:00 to 4:00 pm, and dinner features the exclusive Haitian menu. All the popular food is on the menu. Feel free to explore our extensive menu. Come and experience the bliss."