I first knew Tanya Emerick as the Instagram handle @scarlet_nantes — a red-orange variety of sweet-flavored carrot. During a preview dinner at Seven Beef in Seattle, my favorite bite of the night turned out to be her foie gras macarons. I went back for seconds, maybe even thirds, of these delightful sweet-savory treats before singing their praises on social media, kicking off a creative connection with this amazing food artist.
Emerick was working in the hotel industry in London when she decided to go to Paris for the weekend. A friend who got wind of the plan suggested she meet “this guy,” a student at Ferrandi, the French School of Culinary Arts. She met the guy — chef Scott Emerick — and, as Tanya said, “I just kind of stayed.”
The couple has worked together on many culinary projects over the years, including a stint on Whidbey Island, where they cooked dinners at a friend’s café and baked for a friend’s coffee shop using locally grown produce and eggs.
They moved to Washington, D.C., in 2011, when Scott took the executive chef position at Nora, one of the country’s first certified organic restaurants, while Tanya worked the hostess stand. It was there that Tanya discovered her passion for macarons, somewhat out of necessity. The restaurant had committed to making macarons for a charity event, but the pastry chef called in sick. Scott had been trained in pastry, including the process of making macarons, during culinary school, and taught Tanya how make them.
“I loved it,” said Tanya, who went on to make thousands of the trendy pastries for numerous events.
When they moved back to the Seattle area, Scott helped restaurateur Eric Bahn (Monsoon, Ba Bar) open Seven Beef, while Tanya came on as the pastry chef for two years, piping out macarons seven days a week. Unfortunately, this repetitive motion led to an injury and then surgery, requiring her to trade the macaron piping bag for a less strenuous meringue piping bag.
While her hand has been healing, Tanya has been busy creating meringue works of art and testing macaron recipes. She especially enjoys mixing savory flavors into the traditionally sweet confections. In addition to using foie gras as a filling, she loves to play around with cheese, herbs, and tea as well as elderflower liqueur, lavender, and even gin and tonic.
Tanya is currently looking for commercial kitchen space to lease with the goal of furnishing local restaurants with macarons, cakes, and meringues. She loves the idea of creating custom products for coffee shops.