Rexdale probation officer starts side job to honor his mother

After a Rexdale probation officer in Toronto lost her mother, she continued her traditions of baking in her honor.

Peshy’s Bakery was founded in 2020 by Tisha Ragwen. She named him after her mother Rupesh, who emigrated from Guyana and whose nickname was Peshy. The concept focuses on Guyanese sweets.

Their tagline for the project is “tradition-inspired comfort food” — think pineapple cakes reminiscent of the pineapple cakes eaten in Singapore during Lunar New Year.

“My mother’s name was Rupesh and those who loved her called her Peshy. She passed away in 2018 after a long fight against breast cancer. This loss was monumental for me and our family. She was my guide, my leader and my best taste tester. Baking has always been my way of expressing myself and food has been such an integral part of my life,” Ragwen tells blogTO.

“My dad still makes pine cakes, I learned how to make mithai from my grandmother and mithai was my mom’s speciality. I never dared to make this cake and after she passed away I started trying. It took me a year to get it right.” . And I knew I got it when my brother said he made him cry after eating a piece.”

Ragwen has been a probation and parole officer in Rexdale for the past 15 years, but has been baking since she was young.

“My parents instilled in me the idea of ​​making sure that as a brown woman I received an education, so I took the path that made sense at the time. However, baking was always my hobby. My mother was my best friend and my oldest support. And she, over the years, encouraged me to continue going to school to learn more about pastry and I did it part-time while I worked,” says Ragwen.

“After she passed I didn’t know how to get back into the kitchen, it all seemed pointless. I forced myself to take a course at George Brown to force myself to be in the kitchen for one night doing a chocolate class that terrified me to this point. It was just the thing that made me start over.”

It was then that she began to draw from the memories of her home, her childhood and her mother and to make the cakes that she had grown up with.

“Pine tarts and tennis rolls and braided bread and chips with spelled flour and less sugar,” says Ragwen.

Right now, she prepares and bakes before and after work, and gets the ingredients during her lunch hour.

“My work can be fast-paced and intense and baking has always been my solace, it helps me feel calm and it’s a great way to end my day,” says Ragwen.

Peshy participated in Smorgasburg in Toronto over the summer and Ragwen plans to participate in more markets. She can get her pine pies at Kiss My Pans, where she can order the products online for delivery. She dreams of having a physical store in the future.

“Peshy’s pays tribute to the most important woman in my life,” says Ragwen. “It’s love for family, food and love for our Guyanese culture.”

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