Rhythm, Pies, and Culture: The perfect recipe for Hip Hop Bake Shop
Music and cooking hold a special place in the heart of Adela Bejo, owner of Hip Hop Bake Shop. Having recently celebrated her second year in business, Bejo shared how she found the perfect way to blend the two passions together to form her company.
Planting Roots in Detroit
At the age of 12 Adela Bejo moved with her family from Albania to Detroit. She recalled how she instantly grew fond of the city’s culture and diverse mix of ethnicities around her. “Growing up I had friends from different backgrounds and I got to learn about their cultures,” said Bejo. “When I got into the food business, I wanted to find a way to recreate food items not only from my culture but theirs as well.”
(Bejo at work. Photo: © Hip Hop Bake Shop)
(Sweet Potato Pie. Photo: © Hip Hop Bake Shop)
“Thoughout the years I’ve been inspired by all the things I’ve learned from my friends. That is what drives me to figure out what my next food item should be. I have a group of girlfriends and we are all from different countries. We call ourselves the ‘United Nations’ because we’re so different, but when we get together I’ve never had better food!” Bejo laughed.
Stepping out on faith
Plenty of creatives stay at a full time job because its secure and pays the bills. Although Bejo has a degree in psychology and criminal justice, she explained why she opted to pursue a culinary career instead. “Coming from the Albanian culture, we are not taught to take risks and become entrepreneurs. We are taught to go to school and work hard. After a discussion with a friend about our passion and purpose in life, it clicked to me that your passion is something you do everyday and enjoy. I knew right then that cooking was one of mine.”
(Stack of books in Bejo’s workspace. Photo: © The Creative Armory)
(Apple pie slice. Photo: © Stephen Crosson/Hip Hop Bake Shop)
“When I dropped everything it was completely nerve racking. It’s definitely hard and I currently work two jobs to supplement my business. However, the whole idea of walking out on faith is real. You just have to take off that band-aid and take a chance. I believe God will always put you where you need to be. So far everything has been working out, ” she smiled.
On Hip-Hop and Wu-Tang
Music has been a part of Bejo since before her love of food. “I got hooked on hip hop when I first moved here at 12 years old. What I loved about it was the beats, rhymes, and story telling. I loved that it was so real and raw that you could feel it. I got hooked,” she said. “I’ve never had other type of genre make me feel so connected like that.”
(Citrus shortbread Wu-Tang cookies. Photo: © Hip Hop Bake Shop)
“I got hooked on Wu Tang while I was working out at a gym in Corktown. They would play a lot of their music and I was reintroduced to all of their albums,” said Bejo. “I’ve been to their concerts and can say that they have been one of the only hip hop groups that have left a mark worldwide with their music. I started making cookies in the shape of their logo when my sister bought me a Wu-Tang cookie cutter. In the future, I do want to start creating more logos from different music artists.”
Advice for Creatives
When asked to offer a piece of advice to fellow creatives, Bejo stated “Have faith and grind it out. The struggle is always going to be there so you have to be disciplined. Make a plan and stick to it. If it’s important to you, it’s gonna make that list,” she said. “If you can spend an hour watching Netflix, you can put that same amount of time into your goals. You have to learn to motivate yourself in your business and hang out with people that will keep you accountable for the work.”
(Carmel Apple Cheesecake. Photo: © Stephen Crosson/Hip Hop Bake Shop)
Future plans for Hip Hop Bake Shop include developing a gathering space for creatives. “The whole concept of my biz is to have a community space and the bakery will be my little piece of heaven,” said Bejo. “I want to bring all of my friends into a space and transfer the creative energy under one umbrella. I want to create that living room vibe and feed peoples souls.”
(Photo: © The Creative Armory)
(Photo: © Hip Hop Bake Shop)
What is your favorite pastry by Hip Hop Bake Shop? (We love the Wu-Tang cookies 🙂 ) Share your top picks with us in the comments below!
(A half dozen cookies and tote bag from Hip Hop Bake Shop. Photo: © The Creative Armory)
(Article cover photo © Bre’Ann Whlgn)