In my family, baking was a way for my family to spend time together. During the holiday seasons, I would help my mom stir a bubbling cauldron of caramelizing sugar to make my brother’s favorite: toffee. Or, after a long week of school, I would go into the pantry to pull out the ingredients to start a batch of cookies. I was always very aware that the kitchen held a kind of interpersonal power, because for my family, baking meant quality time and connection. That’s why, when coming into this project, I identified immediately with the mission of Starfish Bakery. Their goal—to provide support and mentorship to students through baking—was something that seemed so exciting, and also intuitive, to my sweets-loving-self.

Over the past semester, I have had the opportunity to observe the wonderful women who make up Starfish Bakery. From the beginning, they welcomed me into their space and allowed me to photograph moments of laughter, concentration, and learning. I have seen business, friendship, cute little kids fawning over cupcakes, and so many baked goods that my stomach always rumbled with hunger. Through my project, I strove to capture the community so essential to the foundation of Starfish Bakery. It is a community built of connections; connections to their work, to their customers, and—most importantly—to each other.