Niallah Cooper's Story: Cupcakes & Community Mindedness
How did you get started with baking?
When I was a little girl my grandmother used to bake this amazing angel food cake. She would be like “don’t touch it!”. I would stare and stare at it and imagine how one day I would to be able to make my own angel food cake all on my own. I started watching my whole family cook. My mom taught me how to make my first cream cheese frosting. My love for baking led me to culinary school and 10+ years of industry experience.
What is SugarQueen Bakery?
SugarQueen Bakery, my cupcake startup, came when I made the jump from the restaurant industry to my true passion for baking. SugarQueen Bakery cupcakes are special because I use all locally sourced ingredients with the community in mind. I am grateful to Sharks at the Beach for providing this opportunity for me and other startups to gain important business skills.
Why is racial representation important in the culinary field?
In culinary school I didn’t learn a lot about black or brown chefs, let alone women in my field. It’s important to have representation in the culinary field. My sister is young and when she sees a black heroine she automatically looks up to them. Because they represent her, she feels like she can accomplish whatever that person is accomplishing. I hope to be that kind of role model. For me, I think of people like Edna Lewis, the first black cookbook author. I look up to her and say to myself ‘if she did it in a time where there were tons of racial issues, I’m sure that I can do it now as well’.
What are your dreams for the future?
I hope that my business will make a difference in my local economy. I want to give little girls and boys who come from low income families free custom cakes for their birthdays. I’m also passionate about food access and healthy opportunities in neighborhoods that experience food deserts. I even hope to develop my own healthy cupcakes as a way to promote healthy eating. These are some of my dreams… and I hope that through baking, I can make a difference, and create change in the food accessibility issues in Seattle.