Freshman’s love for baking takes her backstage
After a concert, Emily Henegar can usually be found waiting by the artist’s tour bus alongside superfans.
But she isn’t there for bragging rights or to snap a picture, she’s waiting to give cookies to the performers.
Now a Belmont freshman, Henegar started her cookie business, Cookie in the Kitchen, at just 11 years old.
“I like making cookies enough, why don’t I start a business?” Henegar recalls thinking. “I really didn’t think much of it, I just thought it would be fun to do.”
Henegar started selling batches of cookies to friends and neighbors, which quickly became a staple for bridal and baby showers. As her passion for decorating cookies grew, Henegar realized she could combine it with her love of seeing her favorite singers perform live.
In 2016, she had the idea to create cookies for Oh Wonder, whose concert she was going to.
“I realized I could make them cookies,” said Henegar. “I didn’t know how it could work out, but I knew I could do it.”
Her cookies turned out to be a big hit. Oh Wonder captioned an Instagram photo: “Big love to @cookieinthekitchen for these INSANE cookies!!!”
From there, she began creating personalized boxes of decorated cookies to hand deliver to bands like LANY, Young the Giant and Gregory Alan Isakov after their concerts. The intricately decorated cookies most commonly feature custom icing illustrations of singers’ faces, album covers and song lyrics.
Since moving to college, the business side of Henegar’s baking has been put on the back burner. Living in a dorm, Henegar can’t currently fulfill cookie orders, but she still finds a way to make an occasional batch with the help of a friend’s oven or the dorm’s community kitchen when one of her favorite artist is in town.
Performers have taken to Instagram to tag Heneger, @cookieinthekitchen, and rave about her cookies. Henegar’s account showcasing her cookie designs has over 6,000 followers.
Singer Dua Lipa featured the cookies Henegar made for her in an Instagram story in which she filmed her friends eating them.
The Head and the Heart wrote in a caption on a photo of Henegar’s cookies: “Such a sweet gift for our last show of the trip. Handmade! Thank you @cookieinthekitchen!!!”
Henegar has loved seeing bands’ reactions: “especially smaller bands, it really means a lot to them.”
Her cookies have caught the attention of the music industry to the point where “they’re now seeking her out,” Emily’s mother, Anne Henegar said.
Henegar was recently requested by the management team for Judah and the Lion to create cookies for their song release.
It’s no wonder her cookies have caught the eye of many, according to customer reviews.
“Emily’s cookies are the most aesthetically pleasing cookie that I’ve ever seen,” said Addie Jones, a long-time customer.
Her custom cookie designs are definitely out of the ordinary.
“She uses tiny icing tips to make these super intricate designs,” said Henegar’s roommate Cece Rulan. “It’s super cool to watch.”
But the artistic quality of her cookies apparently doesn’t take away from their taste.
“Usually cookies that look that good don’t taste good, but her cookies taste amazing,” said Jones.
Henegar’s secret to getting the cookies to look and taste their best?
After spending hours decorating a band’s cookies, she doesn’t mind spending time waiting by the tour bus to meet the artist long after a concert ends.
“I’m willing to wait two to three hours,” Henegar said. “If they don’t come out then I’ll usually try to find a tour manager or a security guard.”
At the venue she frequents in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, she knows the security guard well enough to count on him to get her and her cookies through to a band.
Rulan went with Henegar this past semester to see Hippo Campus and be a part of the cookie delivery. To her delight, they got to meet one of the members afterward to hand deliver the cookies.
Rulan appreciates the fact that Henegar is not waiting around to meet bands for selfish reasons.
“She’s giving something in return for the show that they put on,” Rulan said.
Beyond baking for bands, Henegar has big plans for her cookies.
“I think it would be fun to do a late night delivery service with Belmont students,” she said. “Big picture plans, I definitely want to have my own bakery.”
This article written by Sarah Crawford. Photo courtesy of Emily Henegar.