Meet the Maker: Monique Polanco’s Passion Is Baked In
By Joanne Louis-Paul
When you visit Monique Polanco’s Peaches 2 Peaches food blog, it is clear that this social-worker-turned-professional-baker pours love into everything she does. Her page is down-to-earth yet elegant, inspirational yet practical and, above all else, full of delicious and decadent treats.
Growing up in the Bronx, Polanco spent much of her childhood alongside her grandmother, helping her bring her yummy recipes to life. Once she became a teenager, Polanco started baking on her own and hasn’t stopped since.
This passion has been an anchor for her. “Whatever was going on in my life, being in the kitchen has always been important to me,” she said. “It puts me in a great mood and gives me a sense of satisfaction when I see the end result of what I make. It’s captivating.”
Polanco and her husband moved to Rockland County eight years ago. Soon after settling in, she was laid off from her job of 15 years as a school social worker. Shortly after, she had their daughter and started looking for a way to earn an income from home. She literally did an online search for “how to make money from home while on maternity,” and food blogging was one of the options that popped up.
This was the perfect fit for the new mom. She immediately started taking photos of her food, posting them to social media, and writing a blog. Five years later, she has a profitable business that allows her to share her unique creations with the world from the comfort of her kitchen. “I want people to go to my blog, see beautiful imagery of delicious food and drinks, and feel excited to try my recipes.”
It’s worth noting that every gorgeously styled photograph on her site is taken by Polanco. She didn’t have a background in food photography, but being the self-starter that she is, she took some online courses and quickly learned and refined her skillset.
Peaches 2 Peaches gives Polanco an opportunity to express herself and put her passion and creativity into each new treat. What sets her recipes apart from all the rest is the fact that they are a distinctive mix of her family’s favorites, memorable desserts she’s had at restaurants, and goodies she’s come across on the internet. “I try to put my own spin on them by adding additional flavors and ingredients until I create something unique.”
A little over a year ago, her carefully crafted blog caught the attention of a publishing company and they approached her to write her first cookbook — a lifelong dream come true.
Releasing this fall, it will be chock full of fun, celebratory desserts, including butter pecan cake, sweet potato cheesecake, white chocolate bread pudding, and southern peach hand pies.
When asked what makes her cookbook stand out, she answered, “People should want to buy my book because I am a home baker, just like most people. I didn’t get a degree in culinary education, nor was I classically trained. I learned to bake from my family members and by figuring out recipes on my own through trial and error. The recipes in my book are easy to follow, deliciously created, and perfect for any celebration!”
If you’re looking to build your food photography muscle, Polanco highly recommends these resources:
- Foodtography School by Sarah Fennel
- Eva Kosmas Flores’ Food Photography, Styling, and Branding course
- Artificial Academy by Joanie Simon
Joanne Louis-Paul is a marketing and sales professional, writer, and community builder with a heart for her native Rockland County and the Hudson Valley region at large. She loves welcoming small business owners into her ever-growing Hudson Valley United Freelancers and Entrepreneurs group on Facebook.