Tate’s Founder Kathleen King Chats with Elvis Duran

Tate's Bakeshop owner Kathleen King
Tate's Bakeshop owner Kathleen King, Photo: Brendan J. O'Reilly

Southampton confectionary celebrity Kathleen King stopped by the Elvis Duran and the Morning Show Wednesday to bask in the praise of the Z100 radio personality, an apparent diehard fan of her cookies and cakes.

Introduced as a bigger icon than the Jolly Green Giant or Mrs. Butterworth, King arrived to talk with Duran and the Tate’s Bake Shop fans who called the show.

Duran began the segment by telling King that he was once a resident of Southampton, living on Noyac Road, right near the Tate’s North Sea Farm where King grew up. He admitted that Tate’s Bake Shop was his destination for his “munchies” in his stoner past. Today, he still harbors an addiction for King’s baked goods, indicated by his constant compliments and boisterous reaction when she gave him a shoebox filled with cookie bark, which Duran shared with his co-hosts.

King has always marched to the beat of her own drum, even in her youth. She told the host that as a child she would bake cookies following the directions on the back of the box, “rather recklessly.” Yet once she learned to actually bake and learned to measure, she realized that the conventions for confections didn’t meet her tastes.

Duran then asked King—who sold her Tate’s brand for $100 million in 2014—to share some advice for someone trying to pursue a dream. Her response?

“Well, I think the most important thing is perseverance. I always tell people ‘I’m you.’ I was a B-student that worked hard. I went to two years of college. I came from a family with no money. I’m not the most beautiful girl in school. I wasn’t the athlete. I’m just average. But I had a strong personality and perseverance, and I just kept going. And that’s the most important thing.”

It would seem King’s story is not only a source of pride for the East End, but an inspiration to everyone. The few callers on the show not only praised her product, but her strength and her achievements.

King made her bakery a national phenomenon when she sold majority of the company to the Riverside Company in that multi-million-dollar deal, while staying onboard to head product development and quality control. Now her cookies can be found all over the country. Duran mentioned that he even found her cookies in a Ralph’s supermarket in California.

The local cookie queen’s appearance on the show left listeners with this message: Hard work and perseverance can take people a long way toward their goals. And based on the adoration of Duran and the callers, it certainly shows that King’s determination has solidified her product and position in the world of baked goods.

To quote King, “If you can take one bite and walk away, it’s not Tate’s.”

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