I still remember the weekly errand to Ricki Krupp's home as a child. During winter breaks, Mom would let me pick out my favorite loaf of challah among the hundreds lining her living and dining rooms. Ricki's challah has been the epicenter of our family dinner table for over a decade; and while apart from my family in Austin, an occasional surprise delivery of Ricki's cookies, challah, and biscotti would grace my doorstep, much to my excitement. With tonight marking the final day of Chanukah, I find it appropriate to feature the woman behind the family celebrations, holidays, and sweet moments: Ricki Krupp. Join us in our Caramelized Conversation -- and if you haven't visited the Memphis store before, head over to Eastgate to stock up on Christmas staples, holiday presents, and treats for yourself! You can order online, too.
How did you first discover your love of baking? Did it begin with challah?
I grew up watching my mother bake and busy herself in the kitchen. Since baking and cooking were her passions, we always had company, especially for Shabbat meals. The menus were always lengthy, and the desserts were always a-plenty. She also made her own challah. My four-year-old granddaughter, Abigail, already bakes with her Mom, Aviva, who works with me everyday at the bakery!
At what point did you decide you could no longer bake challahs in your own home?
The idea of baking for a living came out of desire to stay home more with my kids, giving up my office job, and still bring in some income. I really started with cookies for the Christmas season. I did corporate gift tins. A cousin of mine asked me to bake challah for her family, and somehow it grew from there. People would stop by every Friday to pick up challah – my 12-foot-long dining room table would be covered in orders until right before I had to light my Shabbat candles. It got to be so busy, that I decided I either had to move the business out of the house or give it up. So I took the plunge and never looked back. We doubled the size about 8 years ago. I have been here for almost 15 years.
What do you love most about Memphis?
I was born and raised in Memphis, so it is truly the only home I have ever known. Both my daughters married Memphis boys, so they also still live in Memphis. Because of that, I have six grandchildren that live close by! I like the fact that there is, relatively speaking, very little traffic in Memphis compared to other larger cities. I also really enjoy the closeness of the Jewish community here. If you hang around my bakery on a Friday you will meet Jews from every congregation in Memphis. I also have many other wonderful and devoted customers from all walks of life who buy baked goods all week long. One of the best bonuses of living in Memphis is the pleasure of working everyday with my daughter Aviva. We have a very unique relationship, and it makes my "job" a pleasure.
Let us in on your daily routine.
When I am not in "Holiday Mode,” I prefer to start my day exercising at 6:30 am before work. I leave the bakery by 7 p.m. on most weekdays, but Wednesdays are later since we sell pizzas. On Wednesday nights we sell pizzas, so it is a late night for me and my husband, Mike. Right now, since we are busy preparing for Christmas, I start baking at 6 a.m.
How do you add sweet touches to everyday experiences?
Personally, I like to have a little something sweet every day! Some days more than others! We bake so many different types of goodies, that you can always find a bite that will put a smile on your face. One of the best things about being in this business is that, usually, everyone leaves here happy. Either they have purchased something for themselves to enjoy, or found a gift to bring or send someone. We love brightening customer’s days.
photos from the commercial appeal and rickis's cookie corner