If you’re on Twitter you most likely have come across Gail Dosik from One Tough Cookie. Gail does have a blog but she blogs sporadically so you’re probably wondering, why Food Writer Friday material? That’s okay, Gail thought that too but Gail’s done what so many of us would like to do that I thought it would be great to share her story. She’s also a writer that can keep my attention all the way to the bottom line.
Gail’s professional career (before cookies) was as a high heels wearing, hard driving fashion executive on Seventh Avenue in New York City. In 2003 the company she was working for downsized and she was out of a job.
She was tired of the fashion industry and instead of looking for another job, she followed her passion — packed it in and in her 40s headed for the French Culinary Institute in NYC where she earned her diploma in pastry arts. Following that were apprenticeships with cake decorators, cookie bakers and a bakery – all preparing her for cookie greatness.
At 50 (I know, she doesn’t look it, does she?) she started the One Tough Cookie NYC and her business has gone from strength to strength. I was really pleased that Gail found the time to answer a few questions for us.
Maureen: You started blogging in March of 2010. I know because I looked it up and found your first post was written by admin. I laughed because I did the same thing. What was the trigger for starting the blog?
Gail: // OMG, you’re way ahead of me! I didn’t even realize I posted the first blog in March ’10! I decided I needed to begin to blog after being on twitter for a while. It seemed that every cook, baker and candle stick maker had a blog, in addition to running their business. Not wanting to be left out of the crowd, I started my blog. And, for the record, I’m a terrible blogger. I have no schedule, no nothing. I blog when I have a bit of time, or when I get a burning desire to share something I think folks might enjoy. I never blog for the sake of blogging.
Maureen: You’ve turned your passion into your business where you control what and when you do things. How long did it take before you were able to say, “I’m sorry, I’m fully booked for Thursday, will Monday do?
Gail: //I hate saying “I’m fully booked”, but sometimes, for sanity’s sake, it’s a must. The longer I’ve been in business, the more adept I am at juggling, and the less likely I am to say no.
Maureen: You’re such an engaging writer – did you write much before starting your blog? Have you considered doing a memoir with recipes?
Gail: //I don’t consider myself a writer by any stretch of the imagination. I just like telling stories sometimes. I’ve never even considered a memoir with or without recipes, to tell you the truth, but who knows?
Maureen: The first post of yours that I ever read was a few years ago when your neighbor asked you to make a wedding cake with one day’s notice. I switched back and forth from laughter to tears and then wondered if this sort of thing happens very often? Are you a softie who can have her arm twisted for a sob story? (btw, I think you were a huge hero on that one)
Gail: //Yes, despite the name “One Tough Cookie” I’m as big a mush as they come. And, as someone running a business, saying “no” to someone just kills me. Often I hear myself say “No, we’re fully booked for that week. But, tell me what image you have in mind?” Then, I’m a goner.
Maureen: In your operation, how many art cookies can you produce a day? How many do you prefer to paint a day?
Gail: // As long as the dough’s made, I can bake 100′s of cookies a day. I think, with making dough, cutting out, baking, re-rolling dough, checking twitter a gazillion times, I have probably baked about 200 in the course of a day. Decorating is a whole different animal. That depends on the complexity of the project, and, of course, how long I’ve procrastinated! With an easy flooding job, I can power through hundreds in a day.
Maureen: I first saw you on Twitter and instantly thought you were a 20-something because of all the fun you seemed to have with people I admire. Other than help to promote your business, what does your blog and social media offer you in terms of satisfaction?
Gail: // Twitter was my first love in terms of social media. It opened me up to a world of like-minded people, as well as becoming my ‘virtual water cooler’. And, I’m very very fortunate to have transitioned many twitter friendships into real life friendships. As far as my blog is concerned, I’m always so touched when people comment that I’ve taught them something. Heck, I’m surprised people even READ it!
Maureen: Many women (and men) are edging their 40s, hating what they do or at least sick of what they do and wonder, “is this all there is?” What’s the best advice you can give them from your unique perspective?
Gail: //Oh my, 40 is GREAT! I think we’re just really getting comfortable in our skin at 40. As long as you’re open to new ideas, change and growth, there’s no stopping you at any age. I never think about age as a deterrent to anything, really.
Cookies are good things and isn’t a business that makes people smile a good one to choose? She could have done anything and she chose bespoke cookies. Need cookies for a special occasion? Gail’s the one to see. Want a corporate treat with your logo sure to impress your clients? Yes, Gail’s the one to see.
Onetoughcookienyc.com is what you’ll find if you search on Google for cookies new york city – she’s at the top of the page. Gail has proven that if you have a passion and a bit of ability, nothing can stop you from realizing your dream. Yes, it’s hard work but doing work you love obviously keeps you looking young. Check her photos again.
One of my favorite posts ever on Leite’s – The David Blog was about The Love Story in 15 Cookies. I can’t really describe it, you need to read it. You’ll thank me and you’ll thank Gail for making those cookies.