LGBTQ Pride played a part in the founding of Betta with Butta
A true Southerner and baker at heart, The Great American Baking Show’s Chris Tucker grew up baking with his grandmother, Mimi. Growing up some of his most cherished memories were spending time in the kitchen with Mimi, creating and of course tasting delicious recipes.
“Growing up, the thing that I always looked forward to was my Mimi’s Peanut Butter Balls. That’s what she called them. Now that I know the lingo of the business, she was really pumping me full of Peanut Butter Truffles!” Tucker said. When Tucker was younger, Mimi died, and his family looked to him to keep the familial tradition of baking going. “Mimi is the reason I am who I am today. Even though she passed away when I was in the eighth grade, I can still feel her standing next to me in the kitchen.”
Just as the famous quote says, “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are.” Food is something that all of us need and is a part of everyone’s culture. Food is something that brings families, cultures, and strangers together. Some cultures prefer a little more salt here, and others a little more pepper there, but Tucker, founder of Betta with Butta, is a firm believer that a little bit of “Butta” is what makes everything better.
In light of the current racial atmosphere and Pride month, there is a visible trend in society as a whole beginning to support LGBTQ and Black-owned businesses. Betta with Butta is no different and has been leading the discussion for some time now. “I think it’s of the utmost importance! There is no better way to see a change in a community that is underserved than with a surge in their small businesses,” Tucker said. “Many of our Black-owned small businesses are trailblazers in their fields that have been lacking nothing more than exposure. Now is their time to shine and get the recognition they deserve!”
As a company, Betta With Butta has been participating in bake sales where 100% of proceeds go directly to organizations fighting systemic racism. The company also teamed up with Bakers Against Racism for a virtual bake sale in an effort to raise funds for their local chapter of Black Lives Matter. Together, Betta With Butta and Bakers Against Racism helped raise over $1.8 million dollars. In addition, Tucker also launched two new products with a portion of proceeds benefiting The Trevor Project for Pride Month. Tucker’s menu is available nationwide and features favorites both full “Butta” and vegan and gluten free options as well for those that have dietary restrictions.
One of the most popular dishes right now is banana bread. “And let’s face it, there are very few ways to screw up a loaf of banana bread, no matter what recipe you’re following!” Tucker said, explaining banana bread’s growing popularity.
When it comes to baking at the moment, doing anything on TikTok will make it trendy! The social media platform has put food back in the limelight and allowing people to create food content is easier than ever. “Banana bread is extremely difficult to screw up,” Tucker said. “You can usually throw the recipe together in a single bowl. The kids will also get a kick out of mashing up the bananas! Social media platforms are a great way to promote any of your businesses and talents. So I’m not cool enough to be on TikTok—although I should see if they’ve saved me a seat. Instagram (@betta_with_butta) is something that I use daily for my baking and business PR.
“Simply put, it’s the world we live in these days. If you’re not putting yourself out there on social platforms, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I should get better at doing more baking videos, but I fit in as much as I can to stay mentally sane!”
For those that have vegan or gluten-free dietary restrictions, fear not because there are still some ways to make treats that you and your loved ones will swoon over. Tucker’s go-to rule when it comes to vegan-friendly deserts is never to use a sugar substitute.
“Remember, you are still making an indulgence,” Tucker said. “If you take a recipe and try to make it sugar-free, vegan, and gluten-free all in one shot, it’s going to lean away from tasting like that indulgent snack you were after. If you simply swap in a butter substitute and a milk alternative, your result will still be pleasing to the pallet and trick your brain into thinking you’ve gone off the deep end. When substituting your egg, I always go for a tablespoon of fine ground flaxseed mixed with two tablespoons of water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, and the consistency will match that of a scrambled egg.”
What was once a hobby for Tucker became his profession. Tucker worked as a hairstylist for nearly a decade before reclaiming his passion and love for baking. “I continued doing hair for about a year before I took the baking thing on full-time,” Tucker said. “I still needed that bit of income from the hair game before I was making enough money from my baking gigs. Always have an end goal in sight and remind yourself that once you’re doing what you’re passionate about for a living, you will never have to work again in your life! It’s tough work getting there but all things in life worth a damn take a little bit of sweat!”
When asked if he has any advice for those who want to go into a new career field, Tucker said, “My biggest advice for someone who truly feels like they punch a clock every day is to really sit with yourself and figure out what that thing is that makes you tick. What drives you? What do you love doing in your free time? Then you have to figure out a way to make money at it. Start small.”