ASTORIA – A young Greek-American woman started baking cookies as a hobby during the quarantine. Last month, Alexandra Taketzis, a school counselor for students in grades K-8 in Astoria, joined an anti-racism initiative and managed to raise $1,700 for charity.
In June, the Bakers Against Racism Bake Sale, part of an initiative launched in response to the killing of African-American George Floyd, brought together the fight against racial injustice and the love of baking. Bakers Against Racism was started by three chefs in Washington, DC, who wanted to make a contribution through their baking.
“It was something that I wanted very much to do. I liked that it was started by three chefs. So I decided to participate. People responded and bought the cookies because they were for a cause and I finally managed to raise $1,700. It was a philanthropic effort,” Alexandra Taketzis told The National Herald.
The Loveland Foundation, which provides financial assistance to Black women and girls nationally seeking therapy, received the $1,700 donation from the Bake Sale which ran from June 15-20. Chefs and bakers, professionals and amateurs participated with the aim of donating the majority of the proceeds to an organization that fights for racial justice. The movement not only spread across the United States, but around the world, bringing together more than 2,600 people and raising $1.9 million in donations.
Taketzis noted that her love for baking and her creativity started when she was a child. "I liked to bake cookies, cakes from a young age. A few years later I created an Instagram account (FromthekitchenofAlex) and posted photos of the sweets I baked.”
The quarantine due to the coronavirus made her see the possibility of taking her baking more seriously. “Being home for so many hours every day, because I worked from home due to the pandemic, I had more time to bake cookies, especially for friends and relatives. They asked me if I was selling them. For me, the best is seeing that they like what I make. It started as a hobby and the quarantine pushed me to make a decision.”
After the anti-racism bake sale, the ball started rolling. In June, Taketzis’ online store opened.
Through the site she created, www.fromthekitchenofalex.com, she accepts orders every weekend. And the reason: “I want all my cookies to be fresh. So, I open the ‘store’ on Friday and accept orders. For me, the most basic of all is to give fresh cookies. I do not want them left out for days.”
The menu varies. Cookies with chocolate, Nutella, marshmallow, brownies. The young chef chooses, as she says, the best ingredients for her cookies. “I buy more expensive ingredients, but always of high quality. Every week I change the menu and add new flavors. I want to talk to people and so they can tell me what they like. I am also thinking of making Greek sweets. When I do not have orders and I have free time, I do tests and try out recipes.”
Taketzis is also in charge of the delivery of the cookies. “I do everything myself. I'm just beginning. I deliver the orders or the customers pick them up. The support of the people is great and that gives me the strength to continue.”
More information is available online: https://www.fromthekitchenofalex.com.