Kathleen King, founder of the world-famous multimillion-dollar cookie company Tate’s Bake Shop, released her debut picture book Cookie Queen: How One Girl Started Tate’s Bake Shop on July 18th. In her book, she chronicles her journey to founding Tate’s, the dream that all started when she was eleven years old and obsessed with baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Kathleen will be signing copies of Cookie Queen at Tate’s Bake Shop located at 43 North Sea Road in Southampton on August 6th at 11:00 a.m. She is looking forward to meeting everyone who comes out and shares in her passion of delicious baked goods! She spoke more about her path to opening Tate’s, her creative process, and how she hopes her new book will inspire others.
What is Tate’s Bake Shop all about?
KK: Tate’s Bake Shop specializes in all-American baked goods.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
KK: I grew up on a farm in Southampton and started baking cookies at eleven years old in order to buy clothes for school. I loved the joy the cookies brought to people, and I was not smart enough to be a veterinarian, so I followed the love.
Can you tell us about your debut book, Cookie Queen? Why did you decide to embark on this project?
KK: Cookie Queen is an illustrated book about my life on the farm developing my signature cookie as a child. Lowey Bundy Sichol, a children’s book author, approached me about this project, and I thought it would be fun, especially since I have a lot of young nieces and nephews in my life. I hope the book inspires children to do their best, no matter what they are doing, and for parents to give their children more freedom to be creative at a younger age.
What’s your process for creating the perfect cookies?
KK: Everyone has their own idea of their perfect cookie. That is the interesting thing about taste—nothing is wrong, if you like it. For me, it’s all about flavor and texture. When I tested a new recipe at Tate’s, I would watch my staff try it. If they ate one and said it was good, that was not good enough for me. When I saw them keep going back because they couldn’t stop eating it, then I knew it was a winner.
Aside from the chocolate chip cookie at Tate’s, what are some of your favorite items or creations?
KK: Chocolate chip cookies are my first love, and honestly, they are still my favorite cookies. I am not sure how, after all these years! I love scones, brownies, chocolate cake, and blueberry crumb cake. Actually, it’s hard to choose—sometimes it is all about mood. But my desert island dessert is ice cream!
How and when did you get started with this business?
KK: I started baking cookies at my family farm, North Sea Farms. I went into business when I was twenty years old, with Kathleen’s Bake Shop, and after twenty years, I lost everything to a bad business decision. I started Tate’s Bake Shop, named after my dad, in August 2000, to re-create myself after I lost my name. I started with zero, but with the help of an amazing staff, supportive customers, and strategic steps forward, I was able to sell my business fifteen years later.
How has Tate’s evolved?
KK: Tate’s is the little engine that could. We started off as a small bakeshop in a beautiful little town, and because of the hardships of running a business in a seasonal area, we branched out to wholesale, first the East Coast, then the West Coast, then the Midwest. In time, we became a national cookie brand. During this growth, we maintained the same quality.
What’s your favorite pastime or favorite part about being located on the East End?
KK: My favorite pastimes are cycling, kayaking, paddle boarding, and hiding from the crowds.
What has been your greatest accomplishment working in this industry?
KK: My greatest accomplishment is the legacy I left behind with my customers and staff. I watched people, marry, have children, and then they had children, and I was part of their lives in a small way. I hope I added some joy to everyday life.
What is unique about Tate’s that can’t be found or replicated anywhere else?
KK: Tate’s is the first thin and crisp cookie on the market. When I see copycats, it makes me proud because that is the highest form of flattery.
What are you most looking forward to about the book signing at Tate’s in August?
KK: I dedicated my book to all my great-nieces and great-nephews, all under the age of seven. They will all be there, and that warms my heart.
Kathleen’s book even features an original recipe for molasses cookies inside. So, head out to Tate’s on August 6th at 11:00 a.m. to grab some delicious baked goods and a signed copy of Cookie Queen!