, of Southampton, has been creating the tastiest chocolate chip cookies for over 35 years.
Using a recipe that she perfected when she was 11 years old, Kathleen is now standing at an apex of success. With her new kitchen in East Moriches in operation as well as the kitchen at her on 43 North Sea Road, in Southampton, Kathleen King is re-creating the taste so many in the Hamptons crave when they want a perfect chocolate chip cookie.
Sitting at her desk in her office above the bake shop Ms. King told me the story of a farm girl who is now part of a Hampton’s tradition of fine products produced and originated in the Hamptons. Naming the cookie after her father’s nickname for picking potatoes, “Taters,” Kathleen is always quick to mention it was her mother who gave her the strength and courage to go for it. And go for it she has. With her Southampton cookies now being shipped to specific locations all over the U.S.A. Kathleen still has the charm of a small girl who just won the first prize blue ribbon at the county fair for baking cookies. She stressed how even with the growth she has maintained a quality control to insure every cookie Tate’s bakes will taste like the first batch she sold at Daddy’s farm stand when she was eleven years old. When she smiles she still has the smile of an eleven year old.
The phone in the office rang and she was informed to come down and greet an old customer who wanted to thank Kathleen for the birthday cake she made for the women’s daughters 60th birthday. It is the small town personal touch that brings a certain warmth to a bake shop so many in Southampton rely on for Birthday cakes, morning muffins, incredible tasty berry pies, and of course the famous cookies. The coffee is hot and freshly made . So perfect for the fresh baked goods. The shop is arranged in such a way that it has the feel of a small country store as well as a bake shop. Smartly packaged jams and preserves are on the shelves as well as pasta sauces. They are not Kathleen creations but selections and everybody knows she knows what tastes really good.
Recently a friend of mine had some friends in from Kansas City. She always has a healthy supply of Tate’s cookies around to satisfy her sweet tooth. Her forty-ish female friends polished off three bags without evening realizing the volume of cookies that had just ate. When they left for Kansas they had a new supply in their carry on luggage. Who doesn’t remember the first time they bit into the buttery crunching cookie Kathleen’s kitchens creates? I am not sure if there was anyone ever who ate just one. You can find them at select food stands, all the Hampton Hess gas stations and various super markets as well as The Tates Bake Shop.
There is yet another side to Kathleen King. She enjoys bike riding and confesses a love for riding her bike through Tuscany in Italy. Anyone who has ever been there understands why at stressful times she may long to visit the Italian oasis of olive oils, select wines and rolling hills. Kathleen remembered the farm stand in Water Mill over thirty five years ago that was her first expansion beyond her dad’s North Sea farm. She rolled her eyes, as if to say thank you to them.
Before leaving Kathleen invited me to taste a few Whole Wheat Chocolate Cookies. As I was watching other baked goods going into and out of the ovens in the bakeshop’s kitchen I sampled a few of these cookies. It was very very good. It has a taste I may become very accustomed to quickly. However I love the Butterscotch Chocolate Chip too. The Oatmeal Raisins are my mother’s favorite, whereas both my daughters now 25 and 27 have enjoyed the standard chocolate chip since they were single digit youngsters. There is a tradition to taste of Tate’s cookies.
As I was leaving the Tate’s Bake shop via the front door I took a look at the diverse crowd on line to purchase the freshly baked merchandise. A women in bike clothes, a worker, a TV-cable guy, a young mother or two and perhaps a grandmother. Yes cookie lovers come in all ages, genders, and nationalities when the cookie are good. And when you purchase a bag of Tate’s Bake Shop Cookies with the traditional green label, Kathleen King makes sure they are really good.