Food – specifically, dessert – has always been my love.
In college, I was the early-morning baker at the local food co-op, I worked in restaurants (both front-of-house and back), wrote restaurant reviews and food stories for the local paper, studied with a pastry chef in France and got my master’s in Library and Information Science with an emphasis on Culinary Collections and Food Research. (Yes, even the professors were a little confused by the connection I saw with library school & food). But it all worked out. Upon graduation, I got a job with a food magazine developing recipes & writing articles. Fun!
As often happens, though, after a couple of years, I got restless.
A few years before, I was living and working in Japan. Missing the culture and the food, I decided that the only natural thing to do would be to quit my “perfect” job, sell my house and most of my belongings, pack a bag and head back to Japan to write a cookbook. The focus would be on Japan’s regional cuisine and the stories behind the recipes. After returning to the US, I was able to secure a publisher, and the book became a reality! My cookbook, A Cook’s Journey to Japan (Tuttle 2010), was praised by Gwyneth Paltrow, The New York Times, Fine Cooking Magazine, and many more. It was also selected as one of the 16 Most Notable Cookbooks of 2010 by Food52.com. (Learn more at www.sarahmarxfeldner.com.)
With the book completed, I took a position with another national food magazine.
Unsurprisingly, my mind soon began to wander to the dream of opening a bakery of my own. But where to start?
Years ago, my childhood friend, Sarah (yes, another Sarah), made me the best spiced pecans. I knew I had to have her show me how to make them both because I wanted to make them for myself, but also because the mutual friend of ours whom I was dating raved about them as well. The pecans turned out to be perfect holiday gifts, and the mutual friend became my husband. Things were starting down the right track.
In November 2011, I made the scary, but more-so exciting, decision to take the plunge and open Treat Bake Shop – a business focused on sourcing the highest-quality ingredients to produce unforgettable baked goods delivered with exceptional customer service. (For my first product, the Spiced Pecans, I grew up apprenticing with the nationally known spice family, the Penzeys, and am proud to use their spices as the major flavoring. I get the pecans direct from family growers.)
Treat Spiced Pecans are currently for sale at specialty/cheese stores in the Midwest as well as online. Distribution is growing, and new products are in the works. The bake shop has been many years in the making, but the wait – I hope you’ll agree – has been well worth it.
Sarah Marx Feldner, Owner