Trang Pitts of Boiling Springs spends most nights in her home kitchen baking delicious treats for area customers.
She’s a 2011 graduate of Spartanburg Community College’s applied science program with a culinary background. Her love for baking began when she was a child living in the Boston area watching her mother in the kitchen.
“I hung out with my mom and her friends in the kitchen,” Pitts said. “I would try and help and do things like that.”
In 2015, Pitts launched BAK’D, a baking company specializing in cakes, cookies and confectioners. The business has steadily grown since with customers in Spartanburg and Greenville.
“I love baking,” she said. “My first love was cooking. Doing both gives me balance in the kitchen and it’s therapeutic.”
Her husband, Christopher Pitts, helps in the kitchen too when needed and keeps track of the company’s finances.
“It’s just come together through a lot of hard work,” Christopher Pitts said. “My wife is really talented and works hard at what she does.”
Red velvet macaroons, sugar cookies, marble cakes, burnt almond cakes, lemon pound cakes and cupcakes are among customers’ favorites.
Pitts makes baked goods for the Spartanburg Marriott, Pinnacle Hospitality, Aloft
Greenville Downtown and the Greenville Marriott.
“Most of our business is from Spartanburg,” she said. “The community has been great and very supportive and keep asking when we are going to brick and mortar the business. It’s possible we we will do that once our kids get older.
Pitts’ 10-year-old daughter, Sokthi, and 12-year-old daughter, Sokthea, sometimes help out in the kitchen with cleanup. Sometimes, Sokthi will test taste the goodies giving her advice on what might need to be added to the recipe.
In the future, Pitts said the company may wholesale baked items to local restaurants. It can be difficult to find homemade baked desserts, she said.
“The business is still in the infancy stage,” Pitts said. “We want to take time and be smart about how we grow it and build clients. Getting feedback is always good and we want to keep everything manageable.”
After Pitts graduated from high school in 2005, she moved to the Spartanburg area. Pitts worked at the Spartanburg Marriott where she did cold prep making salads and sandwiches. She left the Marriott in December to work at the Commerce Club in Greenville where she cooks and manages the kitchen.
Pitts said there’s a difference between a baker’s and cook’s mentality.
“I have a cook’s mentality,” she said “Cooking is preparing and getting everything in place cooking and going by taste and seasoning as you go but baking is different. It’s very precise and takes time and a lot of patience. It’s two different worlds.”
When it comes to BAK’D, there’s a lot of trial and error baking desserts. Pitts said she wants everything she bakes to be her 100 percent best, otherwise, she doesn’t feel good about it.
“I would rather just start over to make sure it’s done right,” Pitts said “We believe good business is repeat business.”
Working in the kitchen is motivating, she said.
“It’s a great feeling when people really appreciate the stuff we put out,” Pitts said. “Baking in some ways is a lost art. It’s so much easier to just pull something from the freezer and harder to find scratch-made quality products.”
The Spartanburg Marriott sells a variety of desserts from BAK’D on it’s restaurant’s menu including the burnt almond cake.
“She really puts a lot of heart into BAK’D,” said Jason Ober, Spartanburg Marriott executive chef. “Trang sacrifices to ensure quality is in everything she does.”
Ober said Pitts honed her skills while working at the Marriott where she was a sous-chef for seven years.
“I have a lot of respect for Trang,” Ober said. “She’s a hard worker and is doing what she wants to do. When she wants to be an executive chef in a hotel she will be ready. Her opportunities are wide open.”
BAK’D’s early success is no surprise for many. When Pitts attended SCC her talents were evident.
“She was always about pushing herself hard and never wanted to take the easy way,” said Amy Byers, program chairwoman of the culinary department at SCC. “Trang always wanted to learn more.”