PHOENIX (KSAZ) - From the flaky, buttery croissants, to the fudgy brownies, sinful cinnamon rolls, and luscious lemon bars, the display case at Lilac Bakery is filled with delectable desserts.
"They go, 'this is incredible,' and then I go,'you know everything is made in house from scratch.' They hear that, the reaction is even better," said Lauren Paulsen.
Pastry Chef and Owner, Lauren Paulsen, started baking at the age of 15. By her senior year of high school, she baked for a local restaurant in Washington State where she grew up. After graduation, she earned a degree from the Culinary Institute of America.
"I've just been around working at small bakeries, large resort hotels. I just found that my niche. I just wanted to work at a small bakery and make stuff from scratch," said Paulsen.
In February, she opened that "small" bakery on the southwest corner of 28th Street and Indian School. Making sure everything homemade is key, but so is giving back.
"At the end of the day, I have my baristas close down and we take stuff that hasn't sold. We give it to the Salvation Army because I don't believe in throwing waste away," said Paulsen. "I believe that it should go to someone who needs it and what's the point of putting it in the garbage when I can just drive a couple blocks down the street and give it to the Salvation Army and they can use and give it to people who need it."
"It means a lot because we see people every day who come for help and this food is going to go directly to them," said Major Hector Diaz of the Salvation Army.
Deliveries to the Salvation Army have become as common as frosting cupcakes for Paulsen, who says becoming a part of the community means taking care of those who live in it.