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LA’s Sqirl, Wildair, and Other Major Names to Host NYC Bake Sale for Planned Parenthood

Cafe Altro Paradiso’s third annual charity bake sale in May is pulling in huge food names from across the country

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Natasha Pickowicz
Natasha Pickowicz
Gary He/Eater

Shortly after the presidential election in 2016, pastry chef Natasha Pickowicz had the idea to have a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of New York City.

“That was a really deliberate choice on my part,” she says. “When I moved to New York ... at my first pastry job, I was only making $11 an hour and had few resources. Places like Planned Parenthood are so important in terms of providing services for women and their families at any price point. And I wanted to express my gratitude and dedication to Planned Parenthood by trying to share something with them.”

As a pastry chef working at Cafe Altro Paradiso in Soho and Flora Bar on the Upper East Side, Pickowicz then found the perfect way to combine what she does with fundraising: a bake sale.

“There’s something about [a bake sale] that feels extremely neighborhood-specific and nostalgic,” she says. “It’s all about the community and bringing people together.”

Pickowicz and chef Ignacio Mattos threw the first Planned Parenthood bake sale at Cafe Altro Paradiso in April 2017, tapping pastry chefs from Gramercy Tavern, Le Bernardin, Le Coucou, Del Posto, and more top restaurants throughout NYC, challenging some of the folks at higher-end restaurants to create treats that could be sold for $5 or less. She says she wanted to stay true to the nature of a community bake sale by remaining accessible and collaborative. That year, they raised about $9,000 for Planned Parenthood of New York City.

The next year, they raised around $22,000. Pickowicz says the goal is to double that number each year, so this year’s upcoming bake sale — slated for May 19 — has the ambitious goal of raising $40,000 through the sale of pastries and other snacks as well as tote bags that come loaded up with food items and other goods. And Pickowicz has tapped even more top bakers and chefs around NYC to participate, expanding the bake sale’s purview into savory territory with participants like Cervo’s, Hanoi House, Roberta’s, and Scarr’s Pizza.

The list of participating restaurants goes on, including some that are new this year like Lalito, Ops, Frenchette, and La Mercerie. Recently opened restaurants like Gertie and Crown Shy are also on the list, in full below. Ovenly, Superiority Burger, Gramercy Tavern, Le Coucou, Le Bernardin, and Contra/Wildair are all returning for their third year, and Pickowicz says that inviting people back is important to her in order to foster a sense of tradition with this event. She says that starting with the first year, she has been blown away by how enthusiastic and willing to help so many restaurants have been.

This year, she’s also tapping some out-of-town talent, including representatives from Sqirl in Los Angeles, Tandem Coffee and Bakery in Portland, Maine, Zahav in Philadelphia, and City House in Nashville. In the spirit of a real bake sale, she also asked some bakers and stylists who aren’t based in restaurants to join in and share their baked goods with a wider audience.

For the first time, the event will be held outdoors in the plaza next to Altro Paradiso. It will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 19. The event uses a ticket system where each ticket costs $5 and can be used to purchase the items for sale. The tickets can be purchased ahead of time on the website or on the day of at the event. In addition to baked goods and food, there will be flower bouquets, coffee, wine, and cocktails for sale.

See the full list of participants:

Cafe Altro Paradiso [NYC]

234 Spring St., New York, NY 10013