Life in Rockaway is about to get a little bit sweeter, thanks to mother-daughter duo Tara Raquel and Victoria Thomas. The pair have turned their baking passion into a business, and are serving delicious treats at Raquel Confections on 95-19 Rockaway Beach Blvd – which held its grand opening on Father’s Day. Their first days were met with an overwhelmingly positive response, a response which they hope will continue for many years to come.
“We sold out in quite a few days so we’ve been working just to restock everything. We’ve had a couple of days of selling out and [we’re] doing really good,” Raquel told The Wave.
They operate out of a small building painted in a color known as “allium bloom,” Raquel’s favorite shade of lilac.
“People have come up to us and said they really like the color of the place, it’s been her color since she was a baby,” Thomas said proudly.
Raquel and her mother work tirelessly to make sweets such as brownies, fruit tarts, cheesecakes, and cinnamon rolls. The menu may be small for now, but the pair have plans on expanding the menu and their little shop as the business continues to grow.
“Right now we’re starting small but we’re working on expanding to fine cuisine and adding cakes,” Raquel said. “I recently got an order for a birthday cake because someone saw the cake I made for my mom on Instagram. I do make cakes but not that often, it’s something I definitely want to work on”.
Raquel says her journey into the realm of baking was one that followed in the footsteps mother-and-business partner Victoria – an experienced baker who’s catered weddings, birthdays, and retirement parties, and had done work for Queens Library and the JC Penney Corporate Office in Manhattan. Seeing her mom in the kitchen piqued Raquel’s interest in cuisine, and she first began baking at eight years old.
But baking for a living wasn’t originally her plan. Originally Raquel wanted to be a neurologist.
“My mom inspired me to get into medicine because she has multiple sclerosis and lupus. I wanted to specialize in neurology and pediatric neurology so they can pinpoint all the signs of MS from the get-go and then it could be treated much further on,” said Tara. “But I wasn’t really happy. I got good grades but I just didn’t feel it anymore.”
Finding her scientific spark fading, Raquel decided to shift gears and go to culinary school – a move that her mother fully supported.
Raquel enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education and received her Bachelor’s in Pastry and Baking Arts in August 2019, before honing her skills at Disney’s Magic Kingdom where she worked as a pastry chef for 6.5 months.
Raquel Confections’ goods are not only sweet but gluten-free as well. “In Rockaway, there aren’t that many gluten-free options and I wanted to bring that here because I realized a lot of people have gluten allergies or they have celiac. So I wanted to make something everyone can enjoy.”
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