Natasha Pickowicz is an NYC-based pastry chef, writer, and activist. Most recently, she ran the pastry programs at NYC restaurants Altro Paradiso, Flora Bar, and Flora Coffee. Earlier this spring, Natasha was announced as a Finalist for the 2020 James Beard Foundation Awards for Outstanding Pastry Chef, her third year being nominated in that category. Much of her pastry work explores the relationship with baking and social justice, including ongoing collaborations with seminal NYC institutions like Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, God's Love We Deliver, and Planned Parenthood of Greater New York, for whom she helped produced a massive city-wide bake sale, raising over $150,000 between 2017-2019. Most recently, Natasha co-founded The Bake Sale Project (TBSP), an online resource that aims to explore and share bake sale strategies for home bakers and professionals alike. Since summer of 2020, Natasha has created her own pastry pop-up called Never Ending Taste, which celebrates the relationship between local farming, social justice, and community bake sales, and have been held at NYC’s Superiority Burger, LA’s Kismet, and San Diego’s Chino Farms.
1. OffLimits cereal pack from my pal and breakfast-obsessive Emily Elyse Miller. Her cereals come with cool toys and are infused with adaptogens (chill!) and caffeine (perky!).
2. The perfect, deep tote from Archestratus Books + Food (my favorite bookstore in all the land), stuffed with my essential baking cookbooks.
3. Two jars of small-batch, explosive jams from my pastry chef idol in Montreal, Camilla Wynne of Preservation Society!
4. A ticket to a virtual Met Opera concert with glamorous soprano Angel Blue.
5. A jar of organic Seed + Mill tahini, perfect for stirring into cake batters or salad dressing. 6. Delicate, bewitching raw vinegars from the mind of Chris Crawford, who runs Tart Vinegar, a small batch vinegar line in Brooklyn.
7. Bạn Bè cookie tin: Treats from the new microbakery bakery by Doris Ho-Kane, the pastry chef and archivist behind 17.21 WOMEN, which shares the stories and accomplishments of Asian women. The cookies are her Vietnamese-American take on Danish butter cookies and come in flavors like coconut pandan, black sesame ube, tamarind cacao nib, and cà phê (coffee) crunch. 8. One-of-kind painted vinyl sleeve from Bill Nace, musician, artist, and the one half of the duo Body/Head with Kim Gordon. He’s handpainted and collaged the sleeve of this record just for us. 9. The cutest mask hook from Montreal designer and my dear friend, Zoë Mowat. Her work is graceful, strong, and utilitarian and provides smart answers to weirdly tricky questions like, “Where do I hang these masks?!”
10. A virtual writing workshop with Naomi Fry. She writes for The New Yorker, hangs out with John Mayer, loves the Simpsons, and she’ll virtually workshop anything you want to show her. 11. A holiday sampler set of my favorite vanilla extract in the world, Heilala Vanilla. The beans are plump, glossy and juicy, the extracts are fragrant and potent. I’m wild for their flavored extracts too, which come in coffee and cocoa flavors.
12. Sampler pack of the weirdest and best vinyl reissues (like from sci-fi writer Ursula K. Le Guin!) from one of my favorite record labels, Freedom To Spend, which specializes in overlooked and underheard experimental albums from the 70s and 80s.
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Art Direction by Scott Barry with Melina Sweet