With an assortment of eclairs, conchas, cookies, and brioche in hand, chefs across Seattle are banding together with Bakers Against Racism (BAR) for a post-Roe fundraiser. The event to support abortion access and broader reproductive rights kicks off next Thursday, August 4, at 4 p.m. at the Pastry Project, a community space near Occidental Park that provides culinary training for burgeoning chefs facing barriers. “Being able to support community and social justice issues is literally why we started the Pastry Project. We use every opportunity we can to advocate for others,” co-founder Emily Kim says.
“This issue is incredibly important to me. As someone who grew up in Texas I always felt comforted by the fact that I had laws in place to protect me and my right to choose,” says Ellary Collins, owner of Boot Scootin Bread. Collins is partnering with Nick Kirschner of Burn Unit Barbecue to make Texas brisket kolaches. “These will be a sourdough brioche bun filled with smoked brisket and homemade barbecue sauce,” Collins says.
The event will continue citywide from Thursday, August 4, through Sunday, August 7. Participating bakeries and restaurants across Seattle will donate proceeds from highlighted pastries to a charity of choice that protects abortion access. Many are choosing to donate bake sale earnings to the Dr. Tiller Patient Assistance Fund and the Brigid Alliance, organizations that help those in need with challenging logistics such as childcare, transportation, meals, lodging, and trauma-informed support.
Mayra Sibrian shared that Selva Central Goods will be donating 10 percent of sales to Indigenous Women Rising. “We are a Latine-owned business specializing in pan dulce that uses traditional Mexican and Central American flavors and local PNW ingredients,” Sibrian says. The bakery’s pan dulce can be found every day at Union Coffee in the Central District and Resistencia Café in South Park, as well as Columbia City Farmers Market on Wednesdays. Sibrian says she named the business Selva — the Spanish word for jungle — because “Our baked goods serve to shine a light on the Latine diaspora and to remind folks of their power, their divine, their inner selva.”
Pastry Boy’s Jamie Hill has chosen to raise money for ARC-Southeast. “I’m from Mississippi. The last clinic was closed after the Supreme Court decision came out and ARC is helping people find a place for a safe abortion,” says Hill. S’mores cookies are the nostalgic summer treat that Pastry Boy is selling for the fundraiser on Thursday at Chuck’s Hop Shop in the Central District from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Pour Decisions on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Letter Press Distilling in SoDo on Sunday.
“When the opportunity to participate in a Seattle BAR event for abortion access came, of course we were going to hop to it,” says Ben’s Bread owner Megan Campbell. Ben’s Bread will be collaborating with Saint Bread on Saturday, August 6, to offer several pastry options, as well as eggs Benedict with kimchi. Additional details will soon be announced via Instagram.
From Ballard to SoDo, Pioneer Square to the Central District, there will be bakeries participating in nearly every Seattle neighborhood including Temple Pastries, Café Besalu, Mamnoon, the London Plane, Volunteer Park Café, Bake Shop, Ben’s Bread, Saint Bread, Boot Scootin Bread, Bakescapade, Book Larder, Salmonberry Goods, Rosellini’s, La Dive, Flora Bakehouse, Pastry Boy, Selva Central Goods, Ghost Note Coffee, and more. Checking Instagram is recommended for bakery updates and future BAR news.
The seeds of Bakers Against Racism began in April 2020 with Doña Dona, D.C. chef Paola Velez’s Latin American doughnut pop-up dedicated to helping undocumented workers during the pandemic. After the murder of George Floyd a month later, Velez received requests from other chefs to collaborate on similar bake sale fundraising models. In just two years, BAR’s community of pastry chefs has grown internationally. According to the organization’s website, the group now includes more than 3,000 bakers spanning over 40 U.S. states and four continents.
The lead organizer for BAR’s Seattle chapter, Samantha Gainsburg, remembers making pastries for her first Black Lives Matter fundraising event in 2020. “It’s really inspiring to see that you don’t have to be in politics to make a difference,” Gainsburg says. “With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, I think there are a lot of people who are thinking ‘What can I do? How can I help?’”
Capitol Hill’s natural wine shop, La Dive, will be selling Gainsburg’s colorful eclairs on Saturday, August 6. Three different assortments will fill the airy choux pastry: banoffee with a salted caramel cream, banana, crunchy peanut duja, and mascarpone chantilly; black raspberry cream with lemon verbena meringue and berries from Sidhu Farms; and a s’mores option featuring Valrhona chocolate cream, graham cracker crumble, and torched marshmallow.
With local ingredients and the precise patience and fortitude intrinsic to pastry chefs, these participating bakers underline that there are myriad ways to support equitable access to health care and anti-racism efforts. Over the last two years, Bakers Against Racism has built a community that is revolutionizing what advocacy on a global scale looks like. As Gainsburg put it, “I really enjoy that I can combine my passion for pastry and baking with something that I really believe in.”