Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake baker’s man, bake me a cake as fast as you can!

This isn’t a problem for Jessie Ann Kaosoni of Cambridge Bay – she can whip up a cake in no time at all.

Preparing and cooking your own food is so much healthier than buying processed or boxed food, says Jessie Ann Kaosoni of Cambridge Bay, who sells her baked goods and teaches others who want to learn.
photo courtesy of Jessie Ann Kaosoni

Kaosoni had watched her mom cook and bake ever since she can remember and was taught to bake from her mother-in-law, the late Rosie Tologanak, who was taught to cook and bake at the DEW Line Site.

“I remember living in Coppermine and my mom got all my ingredients together for me to make cookies, I remember stirring it all together and when my mom came back to check on me I had eaten all the cookie dough,” said Kaosoni.

In 2002 Kaosoni was selected for a camp cook training program that took place on site at the Lupin Gold Mine camp being taught by an instructor from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

It was a success for her, “All my tests scored 100 per cent, even my overall score was 100 per cent. Lupin Mine hired me right after the course was done,” Kaosoni said.

“I began selling baked goods when my friends would see me post pictures of my baking on social media and began making orders. I have been selling baked goods for over five years now.

“Preparing and cooking your own food is so much healthier than buying processed or boxed food. If I can teach anyone to cook or bake it would help them and their families financially. I love feeding people good food and everyone should feel the same, I know I’m not right without a good meal,” said Kaosoni.

She gets a mix of all ages wanting her to show them certain recipes and what techniques she uses with her own collection of over 40 recipes that she makes from scratch and has added or omitted her own ingredients.

Her favourites to make are cheesecakes, cinnamon buns, angel food trifles, cream puffs, breads and cakes.

“Baking is my passion, when I am down I bake to uplift myself and it works every time. I praise Martha Stewart and all of her efforts but I can show her a few things!” she said with a laugh. “Living way up North you don’t have a fancy kitchen and fancy equipment so you really have to improvise with some recipes and techniques. I really wish to show her my cooked pudding compared to hers.” said Kaosoni.

Kaosoni would love to start and own her catering business, but in order to do that she needs a business licence and being of Inuvialuit status and living in Nunavut has her running into many roadblocks.

“I am not eligible for any type of business grants and loans, and when I tried to apply through my beneficiary I was not eligible as well because I live in Nunavut. This is the same with my sewing supplies application, I wanted to buy supplies to clothe my family but was denied from both Nunavut and Inuvialuit. I refuse to change my Inuvialuk status as both my grandparents are of Inuvialuit descent.”

Despite her challenges Kaosoni continues to bake and teach those who want to learn.

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Rita Pigalak - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Rita Pigalak grew up in Kugluktuk and spent most of her adult life there. Inuinnaqtun is her mother tongue. She now lives in Yellowknife but remains intimately connected with her home community and the...