Angie, the Caribbean sensation and Green Baker, creates all kinds of infused meals and baked goods, with her Nuyorican influence- including a lot of vegan options! Angie’s vibe is majestic, and I firmly believe that her cultural roots add so much to that. Angie says:
“I was born in NYC (BX BABY!!) in the 80’s, but was raised in Puerto Rico around my mom’s family from the age of 9-18. Then I moved to Florida in 1999 to attend culinary school. I was raised within a very Caribbean but also very Americanized home. My dad is Jamaican and my mom is Puerto Rican; I’m a Nuyorican really.”
Her cultural influence is obvious in her menu, and I was happy to have experienced vegan versions of her green infusions. She creates anything vegan and infused with cannabis/hemp, and it’s easy to feel her passion in her offerings. She is about the healing powers of this plant making her offerings more than food that tastes good; these foods and that energy, heal.
Angie, is a powerhouse and states openly on her website that she is inspired by creating medicated foods that everyone, including her son that was born with cerebral palsy can enjoy. She says:
“After many years of working hard for others’ benefit, I wanted to finally use my talents to support the greater good. Cannabis has been a blessing for my son and I wanted to be able to give that gift to others.”
I had the pleasure of enjoying a vegan edibles trio: infused almond cranberry cookies, infused banana nut bread, and infused chocolate chip cookies. Everything I had from the Green Baker was vegan, delicious, perfectly sweetened, and perfectly dosed.
I had to make sure that I featured Angie- the Green Baker in my: where to eat vegan in Florida series (working on expanding this series to other states). In my 2nd La Florida feature, it is my pleasure to introduce you to Angie, Florida’s green baker.
Q&A with Angie: Founder, Owner, and Chef, The Green Baker
What did you do for work, or other businesses owned and worked prior to becoming the Green Baker?
“I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. It started when I was fired from my very first real job out of college. I started a catering and culinary class business. I have always worked a full time job and had a side hustle for most of my career. I have been in restaurants, hotels, franchises, ships, schools and nonprofits; all while managing first my catering business, then a cupcake business, then starting The Green Baker.”
Can you provide a little insight to the 10 year old you?
“10 year old me was artistic. I loved music and reading, mind you I was raised with MTV (LOL). I also had a passion for all things language based. I loved learning French and Spanish in school and participating in school talent shows. I was also adjusting to being in a completely new environment since we had just moved to Puerto Rico. I was an excellent student and always the responsible one since I was the older sister and cousin.”
When did this start for you?
“My earliest memories of being really drawn to culinary was the summer I turned 13 or 14. I had grown up around food and learned little things to help around the house and of course, pull my weight as the elder daughter in the home. Both of my parents worked so I was in charge of making sure dinner was ready and chores were done in the house until my mom got home.
But that summer is when my creativity and passion for cooking blossomed. My brother and I would normally be shipped off to day camp for the summer but, that year I insisted that I was too old for camp and that I wanted to stay home.
Of course my parents allowed it with the condition that I wasn’t ‘sitting around doing nothing all day’. That is when I watched cooking show after cooking show on TLC, PBS etc. Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, The Cajun Gourmet, Yan Can Cook and Great Chefs series. They became not only my summer time babysitters but also my mentors and inspiration. Summer time dinners became experimental.
My family became my guinea pigs as I tried techniques I had seen on the TV, and just grew my budding curiosity into a full blown passion.”
Can I assume that this is when you discovered that you wanted to feed others?
“Yes. During my summer time dinner series. That was a highlight to see how delighted and excited my family would get with my creations, that is one example of food creating this opportunity for connections. The other stand out time that I realized this was what I wanted to do would be around the holidays.
I always joke that Puerto Ricans are expert professionals at at least two things; food and parties! Holidays were a big thing when I was growing up. We would have the Prican version of Christmas caroling but it had a lot of booze, alot of food and some really reckless behavior. But it was the most fun I could have ever imagined gallivanting up and down the island from Luquillo to Loiza to Santurce and Bayamon with a caravan of Tios, Tias, primos and friends singing, drinking and eating at every stop and adding onto the long caravan with each pitstop we made
Those memories are steeped in love and care, the memories and laughter surrounding food, drinks and family.”
As an afro latina raised by Puerto Rican parents, I saw and felt all the festivities you described (LOL, Puerto Ricans are wildly majestic aren’t we? LOL) Anywho, what’s your favorite thing to create and feed others?
“I love creating a lot of things, not only food but experiences, moments captured in time that can never truly be recreated. Opportunities for connection, fun, education and care. Food is one aspect for there are others, our food carries stories, memories, joy and light and to be able to share that with others is a joy and to facilitate that is an honor.”
When was the concept born and what was the reason(s)?
“The Green Baker was created out of my already firm entrepreneurial spirit. I had always been a user of cannabis inhalation but I truly loved making food, and when my cousin came to me one day while I had my cupcake business and asked me to make my favorite aunties mango cupcakes but, with weed in them for her birthday, I thought what a novel idea!
I made these beautiful mango cupcakes with the infused butter I made. That was my first touchstone with cannabis infused food. I ate half of one cupcake and it blew me away that something so delicious could have cannabis in it. Fast forward about 15 years. I had my son who was born with CP and other health issues.
I began dating a woman who had many health issues which prevented her from traditional inhalation cannabis use. I bought CBD oil with my son but wanted something better tasting and customizable for him and for my partner to use also. I started making oils for us to use and loved that it was something that was personally made for my household.
One day I made brownies, but thought to myself ‘gosh I have so many brownies I will never get through these’. I knew there had to be some way for me to be able to use what I need for my family but also share this with others. And that was the unofficial start of The Green Baker.”
What was the official birthdate of The Green Baker?
“The official birthday of my baby is March 9th 2019, when I incorporated my business with the State of Florida.”
What inspired the menu and offerings?
“My menu is a reflection of my experiences growing up as a brown girl in Puerto Rico around loads of food and family. My knowledge that I have gained from over 20 years of culinary experience and a genuine drive to see everyone blossom and grow with this plant.”
What kinds of plant proteins do you use?
“I try to stay away from using vegan “meats. There are some really wonderful whole veggies and fruits that mimic ‘meats’ but ultimately it will never be the same. I think Veganism isn’t about recreating a carnivore diet but embracing the diversity that whole veggies and fruits offer us.
I’m not opposed to using things like tofu and seitan, but as a chef, the beauty of being able to create access for all no matter the diet is respecting the differences in those diets and being able to highlight them through my expertise.”
Are any of your products locally sourced?
“Florida is an agricultural state so I always try to use as much as I can seasonally and also locally. That isn’t always possible but, I am mindful and try to use as much as I can in that manner. Such as honey, tropical fruits, and using items that are in season.”
In your personal life, with the experience and relationship that you developed with cannabis, how do you all feel about cannabis for your overall wellness?
“I feel strongly about the mental, physical, and financial power of this plant. As with any form of mind altering substance (and cannabis does alter your mind) I think the intention and motivations are what make this plant powerful. We give this plant the access and availability to our time, energy and psyche, if the intention is placed in an ill fashion or misleading then of course that is what we will inevitably reap from her.
I have always treated and used cannabis for my healing and to help others see how they could possibly use it. Now, I know there will be some people that don’t share this same thought process, but education is EVERYTHING! Breaking down the misinformation, propaganda, and rebuilding it so we all have the opportunity to make educated choices about how and if we use this plant is paramount.”
Most of your menu is infused, what is the most popular product?
“I think that cannabis beverages are the most popular along with good old fashioned brownies and lollipops. My menu changes seasonally so things change in popularity.”
Have you learned anything about cannabis recently that surprised you?
“I talk to a lot of people from farmers markets, to events and festivals. Everyone seems to be okay with adult use in cannabis but surprisingly, no one is talking about social equity or justice here in the state that I know of (if there is someone out there please contact me)! And another surprise, there are no numbers of how many minority owned hemp/cannabis businesses there are here in the state.
I know we are all eager to free the plant, but can we have a REAL conversation about the people affected by this plant?”
What is the mission and core values of The Green Baker?
“The Green Baker is a lifestyle cannabis brand that educates, advocates, and de-stigmatizes the responsible use of cannabis through food.”
What are 3 things people should know about TGB?
“1. I do more than just sweets, because of my culinary background I can do all kinds of different foods.
2. I do not have any on-going corporate cannabis sponsors (but I love partnerships) so when I speak of something in the cannabis space I speak from my truth and experiences.
3. I want to help more black and brown cannabis businesses come out from the fear that has been instilled in us to reap what is rightfully owned to us in this space.”
Those wanting to experience the Green Baker can visit the site to view the current menu, and contact Angie; the ways to contact are listed on the site.