Colorado Springs baker has community service in DNA | Way of life

Spending her days at a bakery wasn’t the first career choice for Deidre Peak, owner of the hugely successful Sweet Addict Bakery, which has two locations in Colorado Springs. Community service was more in his DNA, having a father who was chief of the Mountain Village Police Department (near Telluride) and a mother who was a 911 dispatcher.

“That community service was core to my values ​​and that need-to-serve mentality that I still have,” she said.

His path took this direction before diverging into the culinary field. Today, the 34-year-old mother of three daughters and wife of a firefighter runs a bakery with four employees and runs an artisan and gourmet retail business.

Early days

Peak was born in Denver, but her parents soon moved to the Telluride area, where she lived for 10 years.

“I had an amazing childhood,” she said. “We loved being outdoors.”

Unsurprisingly, living there meant skiing was part of her makeup. “We had PE skiing at school,” she says. “I guess it would keep the kids in school instead of skipping school. It was great to have that experience.

Her cooking skills were learned at home.

“My mom is a great cook,” Peak said. “She’s Dutch, so my upbringing was all about home cooking from scratch. I’ve always loved and enjoyed food, but my college years reinforced that. Turns out I’m an eater stress, so the more school I went, the more I cooked. And I got good. My childhood solidified my basic understanding of cooking concepts, and my adulthood introduced new foods, different techniques, and experimentation. .

Despite all that culinary savvy, she didn’t follow a culinary path at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “I have a degree (Bachelor of Arts) in Liberal Arts and a minor in Spanish from CSU,” she said. “Then I did a master’s degree in political science and attended Denver Sturm College of Law for a year.”

Public service career

She was on track to address international human rights law, with a focus “on the situation in Ciudad Juarez in Mexico”, she said. But she dropped out of law school and revisited the influence of growing up in a law enforcement family.

“I got the virus to serve after I left law school,” she said.

She became a sheriff’s deputy in Larimer County, serving for five years, mostly in jail.

“Being a young MP in her twenties brought its own set of challenges,” she said. “I chose to make the most of it and used the training opportunities to better myself and instill the values ​​I still uphold today. At the time I resigned I was a commander leader of an in-house SWAT team, a field training officer, on a crisis response team, on a peer support team, and have received many vital awards and accolades. have even used in a recruiting video to gain more applicants.

Join the culinary word

But the stress of work got the better of her.

“I realized I was miserable and I did a full 180 with my career,” she said. “Rather than focusing on what I thought I should do, I decided to do what I wanted to do and made a career out of baking. I now focus my efforts on volunteering when I can and then on my vocation: baking.

Hand-decorated sugar cookies at Sweet Addict Bakery on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

She initially operated under the name Goodies by Deidre Wood (her maiden name).

“Then I changed it to Gourmet Candy Co.”, she said. “Then I finally decided on Sweet Addict Bakery. Same products and ideas, just undecided on the name until I adopted the ‘Sweet Addict’ concept and renamed it.

She and her husband, a native of Colorado Springs, moved here seven years ago so he could take up a position with the Colorado Springs Fire Department. “We are now raising our three young daughters, ages 9, 7 and 4, here too. In fact, my parents now live in a house on our 40-acre farm south of Peyton when they’re not traveling the country in their RV.

She began her career as a professional baker from her home and when business picked up she opened her retail store in Old Town Colorado. It makes everything you would expect from a confectionery: cookies, cakes, French macaroons, candies, caramel apples and pies. Her specialty is caramel, of which she has more than four dozen flavors. It was her caramels that propelled her to number one on Etsy. She was also teaching classes at the store until late last year when she opened a second, much larger bakery where she now runs cooking classes.

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French macaroons at the Sweet Addict bakery.

She opened Crafted Colorado in 2016, which started as a vacation pop-up. This is a downtown shop where artisans can sell their homemade items like candles, jewelry, soaps, signs and gourmet products.

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Working for Peak

Caitlin Zink was Peak’s first employee and has been with Sweet Addict for a year and a half. She has great respect for Peak and loves her job at the bakery.

“When I interviewed for a role at her company, we hit it off right away. Our personalities really complement each other,” Zink said. “Deidre’s management style is a mix of delegative and transformational. She delegates tasks to the team and then trusts their abilities to be innovative, creative and problem-solving when it comes to the task at hand She truly empowers staff to work the way they want while giving him the creative freedom desired by many bakers.”

Regarding transformation, Zink says, “Deidre is very growth oriented with her business. I admire this trait of Deidre because she enjoys pushing her people to greater heights and accomplishments. She welcomes any new idea with open arms and enthusiasm. I find Deidre truly inspiring because she is a woman-owned business and so driven to succeed. She built this business from the ground up and it’s been amazing to see the expansion just since I started working for her. His dedication to success is unlike anything I have ever seen before.

Zink loves watching Peak lead cooking classes.

“That’s when I see she’s really in her element,” Zink said. “She enjoys sharing her knowledge with others and wants others to succeed in the kitchen. Her passion is baking, there is no doubt.

contact the author: 636-0271.

Jill E. Washington