Local Baker Displays Her Baking Talents On Food Netwrok
When tuning into Food Network Canada on a Thursday night, viewers may see one of Lynchburg’s own. Tarsha Joyner, owner of Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats, is making her fourth Food Network appearance on “Project Bakeover.”
How did a graphic design student find her way onto a network cooking show?
Rewind to Joyner’s days as a student at the University of Lynchburg where she was studying graphic design. In one of her classes, Joyner was asked to make an entire branding identity. Her finished assignment was a brand guide for a fictional company called Mrs. Joy’s Absolutely Fabulous Treats.
Joyner earned an A+ in the class that semester, she noted proudly, on top of two ADDY awards from the American Advertising Awards competition, the world’s largest advertising competition. Little did she know, that project was only the beginning of her baking journey.
After designing the art for an entire baking company, Joyner decided that she needed to learn how to bake. She started with shortbread, which, with three simple ingredients, seemed like the easiest place to begin. It was not as easy as she thought it would be, but she eventually worked her way up to cake pops, brownies, cookies and, most triumphantly, doughnuts.
Joyner opened her shop on Commerce Street in downtown Lynchburg in 2016. The shop’s original interior design incorporated elements from her class project such as the company logo.
“When I first moved here, I had no idea what a shop was supposed to look like, but I knew what color palette I wanted because I’m an artist first and became a baker later,” Joyner said.
One of the shop’s walls was painted a sunshine yellow. On the other wall, painted black, Joyner hung a growing collection of inspirational quotes, along with large letters spelling out “MRS JOY.”
“I knew I wanted yellow because it’s my happy color, and I knew I wanted black because it’s plain color to put things on and I wanted to display art,” Joyner said.
But in February 2020, her shop received a complete makeover when Food Network came knocking — for the fourth time.
Joyner’s had appeared on three previous Food Network productions: “Christmas Cookie Challenge” in 2015, “Dessert Games” in 2017, and “Haunted Gingerbread Showdown” in 2019.
In her most recent appearance, Food Network Canada’s “Project Bakeover,” the premise was sending in a chef and a design team to help out a struggling bakery.
“I don’t know any bakeries that aren’t struggling,” Joyner said.
The professional team taught Joyner new baking techniques and made major design changes throughout the week-long process. A distinctive peacock wall pattern replaced the black paint, and tomato soup red paint covered the yellow wall. More seating was added as well.
“It was quite a bit of a change, but I have to admit I love it,” Joyner said.
Joyner credits her success on Food Network to her ability to take constructive — and occasionally not so constructive — criticism well.
“I know that when people criticize you, it’s to make you better at what you do,” Joyner said.
One of Joyner’s most prized decorations in her newly renovated shop is a book titled “A Quilt for Josie Joy,” which she wrote and illustrated herself.
“It was my senior thesis at University of Lynchburg,” Joyner said. “That was another A+.”
Joyner and her team work hard to create flavorful treats for the Lynchburg community. Colorful macaroons, cupcakes and cinnamon rolls larger than a hand fill the shop’s glass cases.
Joyner’s shop is located at 1008 Commerce Street in downtown Lynchburg, and is open Wednesday through Saturday. Pictures of her desserts can be found on Instagram at @missusjoy or on Facebook at @MrsJoysAbFabTreats.
Nadia Vires is a Feature Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @nadiavires.