By Jennifer Belgard
Widdi Turner is one of the most talented and busiest gals in the ATL. She’s an actor, producer, crafter, a baton twirling-go-go dancing-performer, and an adventurous baker. She’s a one woman whirlwind taking Atlanta by storm. This month celebrates the one-year anniversary of her No Big Whoop Bakery, and Widdi is taking it to new heights. Her delectable treats are the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.
Widdi’s homemade Nutella Whoopie Pies are the number-one selling dessert at Wisteria Restaurant in Inman Park. Her weekly specialty flavors are also available online, or at Casseroles in Morningside. You can pick up her goodies and many others at the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale Sunday, Feb. 12 at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club in Little 5 Points from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
ATLRetro: Tell me a little about yourself.
Widdi Turner: Well, I do a little this, I do a little that! I’ve worn a lot of hats in my life, which is probably why I first became an actor – I figured then I could be anything. In addition to acting – my biggest claim to fame would be appearances on GOOD EATS with Alton Brown - I also produce commercials, have my own crafts business [called] widdiwoo; twirl with Turnin’ TriXXX, Little 5 Points’ premier baton twirling troupe!; but mostly these days, I make whoopie pies – lots and lots of whoopie pies.
What led to the creation of No Big Whoop Bakery?
Speaking of Turnin’ TriXXX, we have a semi-annual bake sale at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club. Last year – one year ago this Valentine’s Day, in fact! – I introduced my whoopie pies along with cake pops and macaroons. The whoopie pies were the easiest of the three, so thankfully they were also the most popular! And literally, after that day, the orders have never stopped coming in. I had no intention of starting a business. It basically took on a life of its own, and I’m just tagging along for the ride.
I have about 10 that stay in constant rotation. I recently cut the list down a little, although there are more flavors that I make if requested. I do special events such as showers, wedding receptions, birthdays, etc. I can personalize the wrapper that the treats come in with a special message, or display them unwrapped on platters in a decorative way. I did one wedding reception where the bride was from Brazil and the groom was from India, so I created a whoopie pie of cardamom pistachio cake with mango buttercream filling. They were a big hit!
Where do you find your inspiration?
It doesn’t hurt that I’m addicted to Food Network, Cooking Channel and TOP CHEF! And of course, I could spend days exploring food blogs. I try to think of foods I enjoy that demand to be recreated in whoopie pie form. Being half-Asian, I’m familiar with flavors in Asian desserts, so I made a Japanese whoopie pie as a tsunami recovery fundraiser. It was a matcha tea cake with red bean paste buttercream and a swath of chestnut paste. I called it the “Kibou Cake”; kibou means “hope” in Japanese. Drinks can also be an inspiration, as the case is with one of my most popular flavors, the Irish Whoopie Bombe (Guinness chocolate cake, Jameson chocolate ganache and Bailey’s Irish Cream Cheese filling).
What has been your biggest challenge?
Basically I feel like I’m working 2+ full time jobs as I grow this business but still have to work “the day job.” And it has grown to the point where I have to take the big leap soon of making it full time, but that takes money. Right now I’m working on the business plan and fundraising ideas, Wish me luck!
I am the baker at Casseroles in Morningside (1393 North Highland Ave behind Meringue), so they carry the pies, and Wisteria (471 North Highland Ave) carries my pies on their dessert menu. Currently they serve the Nutella Whoopie, and it’s their top selling item. Did I mention I make my own Nutella? You can also order from me by checking out my Facebook page and emailing me your order [at] firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any specials for Valentine’s Day?
Agh! Thanks for reminding me! Well, I’ll be baking something – probably some new items to test out for the bakery – for the Turnin’ TriXXX Bake Sale that will be Sunday, Feb 12 at the Euclid Ave Yacht Club from 2 to 6 p.m. And my Valentine’s Day specials will be posted on my Facebook page, so check back often!
All photos are courtesy of Widdi Turner and No Big Whoop Bakery!