MiVT: Nomadic Kitchen

Published: Nov. 25, 2019 at 1:15 PM EST
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A South Burlington chef is on quite the puffy path. Her Made in Vermont marshmallows are baked up in several kitchens, but there's one in particular that has a special meaning.

If it appears that Alexx Shuman is right at home making her marshmallows, it's because she came up with the idea for her business, Nomadic Kitchen, in the kitchen at her parents' home in South Burlington. "It was as simple as two mixers, four pots and three bowls," Shuman said.

She has a culinary background, having studied as close as Montpelier and as far away as Paris. But she decided to go a different route after realizing the industry may not be for her.

"A decade ago I made this promise to myself that I was going to find a way to have food at the center of my life in a more innovative way," Shuman said.

On a trip home for the holidays last year she realized that she could whip up a business opportunity based on her family's tradition of making marshmallows. "Things in my brain just started firing and then all of the sudden these loose threads that I felt like I created, suddenly being kind of being tied together in this really out of nowhere unexpected bow," Shuman said.

In the span of a few days she developed three recipes and launched a pop-up shop. After a week, she was receiving orders from across the country.

"I was exhausted, I was overwhelmed, I was terrified, but I had never felt so full or rewarded in my entire life," Shuman said.

"My favorite moment at any market is when someone comes up, tries it expecting one thing, realizes it's another. There's a very beautiful primal reaction where I get to witness joy spread in real time," Shuman said.

Over the last four months Shuman has been bouncing around between four kitchen's in the Burlington/South Burlington area. Those kitchen's are in either restaurants or churches and she doesn't have a set time where she can make her marshmallows, it's basically based on availability.

"At the moment I'm nomadic because I'm literally nomadic. That worked out great, but it also kind of encompasses a grander idea of allowing the business to evolve and change and become a lot of different things, so I can stay in love with it my whole life," Shuman said.

It takes temperature, air and timing to make a good marshmallow and a good marshmallow making business. Shuman took the temperature of her career, felt something special in the air and her timing couldn't have been better.