Doing What They Do Best

by | Aug 13, 2020 | EAT DRINK

Richmond chefs and bakers have donned their aprons to bake goods, put on a massive bake sale, and put all funds towards Black Lives Matter and Richmond-based charities.

In the recent Black Lives Matter protests, people have shown a variety of different ways to exercise their political voices. Some shout and lead protests, while others speak more softly and paint signs. Some people donate thousands of dollars, while others can only afford to share little. Faced with the question of how they’d contribute, a group of Richmond chefs chose to stick to what they know well. 

Richmond Bakers Against Racism is a small chapter of the D.C.-based international organization Bakers Against Racism, founded by Paola Velez from D.C.’s Kith and Kin. These devoted bakers, chefs, and household amateurs bake desserts, breads, and pastries and sell them in a massive bake sale operation. All proceeds go to organizations in Richmond to help underserved majority black communities. 

Richmond Bakers Against Racism held their first bake sale online in June. Baked goods were available for preorder online for a week before the in-person pickup date of June 20. The funds raised went to the Jackson Ward Youth Peace Team, Richmond For All, the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton, Nolef Turns inc., and the Richmond Food Justice Alliance. All of these organizations focus on supporting and uplifting black communities in Richmond through their different missions. 

“We raised $8,000, which is awesome for just two weeks of planning,” said Olivia Wilson, co-owner and chef at Brenner Pass. “We could’ve done more, but we didn’t have the time or capacity.”

Wilson said that everyone involved in RBAR loves to bake, and was drawn to the opportunity to bake for good. She said she’d never seen something like this large-scale-bake-sale-for-good done before.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve thought of a bake sale in this way… it’s also very joyful,” she said. “And we all need a little bit of joy these days.”

Rabia Kamara of Ruby Scoops Ice Cream and Sweets made an oat milk chocolate pudding with a tahini streusel for the organization’s first bake sale. She was drawn to RBAR due to a desire to direct her love for baking toward positive causes.

“I wanted to be able to assist nonprofits in the area through things I’m passionate about,” she said.

Kamara said that RBAR is planning to hold their next bake sale on Halloween.

“I don’t have any recipes in the works right now,” she said, “but whatever we make will definitely be orange.”

Rabia Kamara. Photo via Bakers Against Racism/Facebook

By adding more bakers to their cause and having more time to plan, RBAR hopes to triple or even quadruple their output of pastries and in turn, the profits they raise, according to Kamara. 

Flan de Sal, apricot kolache, and many other beautiful pastries will be available for the next bake sale. RBAR is also planning to add more pickup locations for the next bake sale; originally, Brenner Pass was the only pickup location. Kamara says that they hope to have pickup locations in the Fan, Carytown, Maymont, Jackson Ward, and others.

Pre-orders are handled online by emailing Richmond artist, food stylist, and former pastry chef Molly Reeder. The group is currently gearing up for their Halloween bake sale — keep an eye on their Instagram, @richmondbakersagainstracism, for details and pre-order information.

Noah Daboul

Noah Daboul

I’m Noah. I’m from Norfolk, Va. (the best city in the Commonwealth), and I’m a rising junior at VCU studying digital journalism. Through my studies, I have had the privilege of being published in the Washington Post through The Robertson School’s Capital News Service. I also write and edit for VCU’s INK Magazine; I like to think that I’m the most nitpicky editor on staff (but like, in a good way). Outside of journalistic writing, I like to write poetry, essays, and music. I also am a big fixed gear cyclist, film photography fanatic, champion carb-loader, cat lover, musician, and wearer of hats.

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