MARJORIE SLIMER HAS MADE HER LIFELONG LOVE OF CULINARY ARTS THE FOREFRONT OF HER FOCUS
by LISA PORTERFIELD THOMPSON
As a junior in high school, Marjorie Slimer started a pie business, appropriately dubbed by a friend as “Slice of Slimer.” By Christmas, in addition to Student Council, cheer, leadership and golf, she had 75 pies to bake and her popularity as a baker was rising among family and friends.
“I was always so busy!” Marjorie remembers. Soon she realized she could make a career out of baking, and a lifelong love of culinary arts came back to the forefront of her focus. She graduated high school in 2017 and went to Texas Christian University for her first year of undergrad, but soon Marjorie decided to come back to Texarkana.
“I went to TCU to study business after high school,” she said. “My mom could tell I wasn’t happy, so she suggested I come back and try culinary school. I think the main thing that bothered me was being away from home. I really love Texarkana because I have so many family members and friends here.”
Marjorie’s mom had been researching culinary schools as a potential solution to her unhappiness, and eventually the two decided she would return to Texarkana and enroll at Texarkana College. Currently, she is a lot of things to a lot of people: a daughter, a friend, a nanny, a student, a girlfriend, but her aspirations to be a business owner drive her to keep working hard while juggling a job and many other responsibilities. She will graduate with a certificate in Culinary Arts from Texarkana College in December.
“I’m studying culinary arts because I thought I really needed to know more about health codes and safety before I struck out on my own,” she said. “I have been able to learn some really neat dishes, like homemade pasta and bread, and other techniques that I didn’t know before. I got my ServSafe manager certificate my first semester at TC, so when I started catering, I felt more confident having that under my belt.”
While Marjorie’s baked goods are still growing with popularity, her love for cooking really started as a small child. “Both of my parents are such good cooks,” she said, “so I grew up never really eating ‘kid food.’ My parents would always let me help in the kitchen, and I got really interested. I think what really pushed me was my PaPa. When I was pretty young, I would stay with my Dad’s parents on the weekends. In the mornings, he would let me cook him an omelet every time, and I would put the nastiest ingredients in it, like mustard, cucumbers, cheese, and leftover spaghetti. He would eat all of it, every time, without complaint. He told me every week that I was getting better each time, so I really think he gave me the confidence to keep cooking.
“My mom’s dad was also a big influence to me as well,” Marjorie said. “A lot of people knew Bobby Dowd as a businessman, but he started out with not much growing up and pushed himself into such great things, so he’s influenced me to be an entrepreneur. When I was about 7, I told my mom that I wanted to be a ‘caterererr.’ Mom thought it was so funny that she told her dad, and he said, ‘Oh honey, you’ll eat up all your profits!’ I always tried to figure out something else to do to make money, but I always came back to cooking. I like to think he would be pretty proud of me, especially how much I love it and how hard I work.”
Marjorie recalls an early interest in presentation and cooking. “I love that you can be so creative with food,” she said. “I will just sit and read cookbooks, because I like looking at all of the different presentations that people think of. Recently we did a competition at school for one of our finals, and it was so interesting to see how everyone used the same four secret ingredients in such different ways.”
She goes on to explain that she has a variety of favorites in the kitchen. “I really like to make tacos, pasta dishes or salads the best, not only because they’re my favorites to eat, but because you can do so much with them. My very favorite thing to bake is key lime pie. If I could make one just for my family, I could eat the whole thing by myself.”
Marjorie does not get to cook for her own family as often as she might like, because orders from the public keep her busy. Her secret, she says, is that every step is homemade. “The most I can do of each pie in one batch is about five,” she admits, “so I can’t just crank them out super fast. I have to take my time with each one. I also use a few of my grandmothers’ and great grandmothers’ recipes, which is pretty sweet because my grandmother, mom and aunt all help me in the kitchen.” Marjorie not only is still baking pies and confections for the public and studying Culinary Arts as well as working as a nanny to a young family, but now works with Chef on the Run Jeff Loving at events as well. “Jeff is so much fun to work with,” she said. “I really appreciate him letting me work with him after I moved back from Ft. Worth. Every event I’ve done with him, I have enjoyed because of him and the other people that work with him and the atmosphere. We have so much fun!”
In her spare time, Marjorie says she enjoys hanging out with her parents, boyfriend, and friends. “Everyone who knows me knows how much my mom and I love dogs,” she laughs. “We’re always trying to rescue them and find homes for them at our friends’ houses.”
Marjorie, although driven by future aspirations, is not completely sure what the future holds after graduation. “I’m not sure what I want to do next,” she said. “I’ve always had a few ideas, but now that I’m older, I can see what’s a smart decision and what’s not. Since I was little I have wanted a restaurant, but now I’ve realized that it’s probably not smart to just jump headfirst into that after graduation. Right now I’m thinking that I want to open a small market doing healthy lunches and juices, meals to pick up, and continue with catering and pies. It will be so much easier for me to accomplish what I’m already doing in a bigger kitchen, and when I’m not in school and worried about studying and classes.”
Regardless of what business endeavor Marjorie decides to take on, Texarkana will be a little bit sweeter.