By Rebecca Masson | Illustration by Zoe van Dijk

A few words that have been used to describe me: Mean, rude, angry, scratchy, smug, demeaning. All of these from people who have never met me. 

Because I work with sugar, people assume I should be happy, or sweet. And I am a little bit sweet—but also a little bit snarky. A little shy, and a little outgoing. Have you ever burnt a whole pot of sugar? Not a happy moment. That’s a moment where you yell FUCK ME in your kitchen and start over.  

When we think of ladies who bake, we think of our moms, grandmothers, aunts. Betty Crocker, and the Dough Boy. We think of birthday cakes, of our parents taking us for ice cream when we did well in school. We celebrate milestones with sweets, we eat our feelings with sweets. I suppose that’s why people have such strong feelings about the people who make them.

According to the internet, and all its reviews of Fluff Bake Bar and of me, I am a far cry from that rosy-cheeked, ruffled-apron-wearing baker. One person even went as far as to say that I “bake with hate.” Hate!

Listen: I don’t put hate in my baked goods, but owning a bake shop is not all unicorns and sprinkles. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you, it just means I have a hard time accepting compliments and I don’t know what to say.

And like you, I have shit days. Maybe I just got off the phone with the internet company. That’s always fun. Maybe the HVAC has gone out and it’s 100 degrees in the kitchen. Maybe I’m trying to figure out how to handle an employee who came to work drunk while I ring up your cake.

Most days, I just want to go to work and bake things and be in my happy place. And then when I do and you see my game face, you say it’s resting bitch face or stank face.  When you see the chef working the line or the pass and he has his game face on, does he look angry or mean? No, you think he looks focused, on his game. Is that because I’m a woman, or because I make delightful cookies? My RBF is so bad that I have considered Botox, just so you won’t see my face and call me mean.

People expect pastry chefs to be full of bubbly, effortless creative genius, to reflect what they make. They expect us to be soft. But at our core, we’re still chefs: and pastry isn’t effortless. It’s complicated. We put our heart and soul into it. We want to feed you and make you smile and show you things that remind us of our own happy memories—sometimes that gets a little salty.

But: I don't bite. Promise. 

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