Annie Baker wasn’t always the cookie creator she is known as today.
Before starting her business, Annie the Baker, she worked as an accountant for a large bank in Chicago.
“We worked some super long hours during the year-end, every quarter, etc.,” Baker recalled.
“I found myself baking on Sundays just to come down from all the craziness of the week,” she said.
“I would bring my baked goods in to work and people would tell me that I was in the wrong profession. It made me really think about what I loved to do as opposed to what I was currently doing.”
Ten years ago, Baker started selling her cookies at the Napa Farmers Market. Both locals and visitors have been enjoying her baked treats ever since.
1. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?
- Mario Lemieux #66 and Owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins (who is my hockey god!)
- Mean Joe Greene #75 of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers – he seems like a real softy and I have always wanted to share a Coca-Cola with him.
- My maternal grandmother – Gramma Ann (my namesake and the reason I love to bake).
2. What was your first job?
Kmart in Belle Vernon, Penn. I was the check-out girl working in the lawn and garden section – I loved it, got to be outside a lot and dealt with really fun people.
3. What job would you like to try/not try?
Try: Social worker.
Not try: Crime scene cleaner.
4. What is the biggest challenge your industry has faced?
GLUTEN!!! Diet fads that require NO SUGAR!
5. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
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I have over 925 cookbooks in my home office. I read cookbooks like most people read novels: front to back and I rarely cook/bake out of them.
6. What was your childhood ambition?
To make people laugh and smile. I was in a comedy troupe in college and I really thought for a long while that I was going to be a stand-up comedienne.
But then my mom told me that my father and she did NOT send me to college to be a comedienne. So I stuck with accounting. I think baking has brought me back to making people happy and making them smile too!
7. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
Sitting at a kitchen table with my maternal grandmother – Gramma Ann, along with my two favorite great aunts Edie and Glady, having a cup of tea and some white cake with white icing that my aunt Glady made. That would make me really happy!
8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?
I feel like I am EXACTLY where I am supposed to be.
I know I have more to accomplish, but everything I have done/accomplished in my 20s, 30s and 40s has contributed to what I am doing now.
My 20s was graduating college, living in Chicago and working as an accountant (I do my own books now, so that helped). My 30s was culinary school and working at Mustards Grill learning baking production. My 40s has been Annie the Baker cookies.
Looking forward to seeing what my 50s brings – bring it!
9. What’s on your to-do list?
Finish perfecting a delicious brownie, travel to Greece with my hubby and have a BLAST turning 50 this year.
10. Which other Napa County business persons would you like to see featured in 10 Questions?
Rob Doughty, DJ Rotten Robbie and Sherri Gallagher, Sherri Gallagher Designs.