( ENSPIRE Lifestyle ) Tracy Wilk Giving Back to Frontline Workers By Releasing Her Cookbook #BakeItForward
ENSPIRE Contributor: Diana Yafizova
During the pandemic, it seemed like everyone started spending more time in the kitchen to pass the time. But, while most citizens were staying at home, the frontline workers were the ones that were trying to keep everyone safe by putting themselves at risk for Covid. The frontline workers became the superheroes in our world, and Pastry Chef and Culinary Instructor Tracy Wilk wanted to give back to the frontline workers. So, Wilks released a cookbook, “#BakeItForward” to highlight the grassroots adventure of spreading joy, kindness, and sprinkles of hope by sharing baked goods with essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The cookbook not only features 25 recipes and baking tips, but it also includes inspirational stories from bakers around the world who joined in on this movement of giving and frontline workers who were brought a little happiness through these acts of baking kindness.
While Wilks got the idea of writing this book during the pandemic, she is not new to the kitchen. Wilks graduated from the University of Central Florida and was trained by Natural Gourmet Institute. She worked with many other chefs and in many kitchens throughout her career, including the James Beard award-winning pastry department of ABC Kitchen, David Burke Kitchen, and Flex Mussels. But when the pandemic hit the world #BakeItForward became her passion project and her creative endeavor.
Tracy Wilk was able to use her own positive experiences in the kitchen to spread potential calm, happiness, and purpose to the many who were experiencing great turmoil due to the pandemic. As Tracy, herself states, “Being in the kitchen makes me happy; it emits a sense of calm where love is shown with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. When I gravitated to the kitchen, as so many of us did!, it was a safe space for me during the height of the pandemic. As I continued to bake and couldn’t eat it all, I decided to share it with essential workers, including postal service workers, grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, and firefighters, to make their days a little brighter, a little sweeter. Realizing we are stronger when we work together, the grassroots social campaign to #bakeitforward spread around the country, with fellow bakers coming together to say a simple thank you during this difficult time.” Though Tracy may be a bit modest in saying that it’s only a simple thank you, actions like these simple thank yous can make a huge difference in someone’s day, knowing that someone out there cares and wants them to be happy. It’s an important message that no matter how small the token of appreciation is, especially in these challenging times, it’s imperative to express that appreciation so we can all feel a bit stronger and more connected.
The recipes featured in #BakeItForward are beginner-friendly, rated on a scale of 1 to 3 in terms of difficulty, and including items such as cookies, cinnamon rolls, NYC-Style Challah, and more. It’s straightforward and sweet and reflects Tracy Wilk’s philosophy that “Some days we all need a reminder that when life gets to be too much for ourselves or others, sometimes a lot can be solved with a warm cookie.”
Wilks is spreading kindness and paying the frontline workers back for all that they did during the pandemic. If you also want to pay it forward and make delicious desserts, her book #BakeItForward is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $35. Your purchase not only allows you to make delicious desserts but also directly helps others because a portion of all proceeds from book sales will go towards City Harvest.
You can stay connected with Wilks on her Instagram.