Washington DC

DC Pastry Chef Building a Business After Losing Job, Home in Pandemic

A D.C. mom who lost her job during the pandemic was forced to move into a shelter — but she is determined to use her skills as a pastry chef to pivot to entrepreneurship.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Life soured for China Young and her sweet pastry dreams when the pandemic hit.

The 34-year-old Southeast D.C. native and mom of two young children fell on hard times during the pandemic shutdown. She lost her pastry job and tried to keep up with bills through online orders.

“It was basically like my friends from Facebook trying to keep me afloat, but it didn’t work out,” Young said. “It was Halloween. That’s when we had to check into the shelter ‘cause I just couldn’t afford to keep up anymore.”

Young wasn’t alone when she sought emergency housing for a short time at the nonprofit Community of Hope.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in need and a change in that need, especially around the housing instability,” CEO Kelly McShane said.

Young is now out of the shelter and in temporary transitional housing.

She’s also baking again, perfecting her sweet potato cheesecake, and showing off her creations on social media.

“I produced it over the pandemic before I went into the shelter,” China said. She wants to sell them this fall.

She’s also looking to pivot to bigger dreamers: her own bakery store.

“I just need the right people to guide me,” she said. “I’m basically on my own doing this. I just need the right person to guide me, so I can be more successful in the future.”

You can get in touch with Young by emailing sugaandcomfortcateringllc@gmail.com or checking on her Instagram.

See more of NBC4's series on Women Who Pivot here.

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