Unforgettable Bakery and Deli, now almost four years old, was a long time in the making. For owner Belinda Baptiste, this bakery is a “dream come true.”
While she wasn’t always sure that she’d one day own a bakery, there’s one thing she’s always been sure of — she can cook. The “last piece test” is how she knew.
“Every time I’d cook something, somebody wanted it,” she says. “The last piece of cake that I made for Christmas or any occasion, somebody wanted the last piece.”
She didn’t go to school to study culinary arts; it’s something she says she’s always been good at, for whatever reason.
“It’s like a gift. It’s nothing that I’ve earned. It’s just a gift,” she says.
When she was 16, she knew in the back of her mind that this cooking thing was something she wanted to pursue. And about four years ago, she decided to do just that, and Unforgettable Bakery and Deli came to be.
But this is a bakery with a purpose. Baptiste works closely with Hope for LaGonave, a nonprofit ministry that aids the village of LaGonave in Haiti, and through her bakery, she works to raise money to donate to this non–profit.
“There are needs everywhere,” she says. “So I said, ‘You know what, let it be a bakery with a purpose.’”
After the earthquake in Haiti, she began her first fundraising project. She baked cakes and sold them at the bakery with half of the proceeds going to benefit Haiti. But, that was only just the beginning.
“I felt the urge to continue to do something, but I didn’t know what. I wanted to build houses; I wanted to feed them; I wanted to help,” she says.
So she set out a donation jar at the bakery and started collecting donations for Hope for LaGonave. Not only does she collect donations daily, but she also hosts many events at the bakery that also help raise money.
The money goes toward feeding the children of LaGonave, with the bakery sponsoring two children from the village.
Not only does the bakery work to support Haiti, there’s an essence of Haiti infused in the bakery itself — from decorations, to Haitian coffee and vanilla, to the spices used to cook the food. Baptiste, from Haiti herself, says that there’s definitely a Haitian flair to what she cooks.
Baptiste never thought that she’d be able to combine two things that she loves — cooking and Haiti — but with Unforgettable Bakery and Deli, she’s done just that.
“I never planned all this. But I cannot imagine if I did not do this,” she says. “Because this is what I’m supposed to do.”
Right now, the focus of the bakery is mainly donating to one Haitian village, but Baptiste says, the longer the bakery’s around, the more they can continue to branch out.
“As long as we’re open, as long as people keep coming and give dollars and tips. Who knows what else we’re going to do, because the needs are really great in Haiti,” she says.
Unforgettable Bakery and Deli
238 Eisenhower Dr.
For more info about Hope for LaGonave visit www.hopeforlagonave.com