This story, courtesy of Turks Caicos Magazine, was simply too good not to share! So thank you first to them for publishing it and to Dominque Rolle for writing it. And big CONGRATS to Joey Higgs for his amazing success!
Have no doubt that for the best cheesecake in the world, you have to come to find Nathan’s Cheesecakes in TCI!
Creating the perfect cheesecake by Turks Caicos Magazine
story byDominique Rolle/Caya Hico Medi
Joey Higgs navigates his kitchen with the practiced finesse of a cooking show star.
It is 5 o’clock in the afternoon and he’s whipping up a batch of fruit covered cheesecake cupcakes for a first time client who’s already rang twice.
Before he can collect his thoughts, the phone rings again – this time it’s one of his regulars from Grand Turk ordering a double decker mango and pineapple confection to be sent on the first flight the next morning. “Once I introduce a new flavor and the word gets out, things get a little crazy,” Higgs says of the flood of orders that follow his clients’ word-of-mouth reviews.
If ‘crazy’ is the barometer Higgs uses to measure the demand for his cheesecakes, 2015 has been pretty insane for the 28-yearold whose family hails from the island of North Caicos.
It may come as a surprise given the local popularity of his brand, but Joey Higgs isn’t just the baker behind Nathan’s Cheesecakes he’s also a part of the team that keeps Providenciales’ power supply running throughout the night.
As a plant production operator at FortisTCI, his onsite technical profession makes an unlikely companion to his entrepreneurial double life. In fact, Higgs will tell you himself that he could never have predicted an entry into the cheesecake business.
“I absolutely hated it as a kid!” he grimaces as if experiencing a traumatizing flashback.
It was during his college days at ITT Technical Institute in Fort Lauderdale that he was miraculously converted. As he gingerly places his cupcakes filled with a cinnamon twist recipe into the oven, Higgs confesses, “I eventually got so hooked that I was buying one whole New York cheesecake every Sunday.” After graduating at the top of his class with an undergraduate degree in architecture, he decided to move back home. “The hardest part of relocating,” Joey says, “was not being able to satisfy my weekly fix for New York cheesecake.” It was then that Higgs decided to learn to make it himself.
As he carefully washes strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries to decorate the cinnamon twist batter baking in the oven, Higgs recalls the very first cheesecake he ever made.
“I was desperate. So I went online, found a recipe and sort of made it with my own little twist. I called my family and friends over and they really couldn’t believe it. By Valentine’s Day I had 61 orders in a week.” They say the rest is history, but Joey Higgs will tell you the recipe is actually hard work and perseverance often at the expense of normal sleeping hours, or getting any sleep at all.
Still, ask the young entrepreneur why it is he works so hard and the inspiration behind his nocturnal work ethic will instantly flash across his face. “I named this business after my son Nathan. Cheesecake is the sweetest thing in the world after him, and yes, he loves my baking.” The young father laughs, but it’s easy to see why.
Higgs’ colorful and creative designs are as much a feast for the eyes as they are delightful to the taste buds. Boasting decoratively arranged toppings of bananas, kiwis, mangoes, and marshmallows over such flavors as red velvet swirl and a smooth classic original, Nathan’s Cheesecakes are known for being both visually stunning and delicious.
Despite Instagram notoriety and an influx of daily orders, Higgs has negotiated a wider availability of his cakes throughout the Turks and Caicos by securing several tastings with head chefs in hopes of landing on their dessert menus. “Now, Nathan’s Cheesecakes are offered at five different locations on Providenciales alone,” Higgs says proudly.
Even so, the self-taught baker hopes to someday open his own bakery. As the architect-turned-pastry maker puts the finishing touches on his fruit covered cupcakes he says, “Until then, I love what I do. This is my therapy. When I’m making cheesecake, I’m truly happy.”
Story and photographs: Dominique Rolle/Caya Hico Medi