Chardonay Carter-Paige’s baking business helped her cope with life’s tragedies.
Her home bakery, Finessin Tasty Treats, took a big step this month when it began offering its desserts at Chad’s Hotwings, Fish and Burgers in Gladewater.
The Longview woman said the restaurant’s owners, Chad and Karen Brown, had been looking for someone to offer desserts at their restaurant for some time. Carter-Paige’s husband works for Republic Services and met the Browns along the way.
She was born in California, but she and her family moved here from Colorado in January 2022. Prior to their move, she worked as a surgical technologist for 13 years. She recalled that doctors she had previously worked with commented on her skills in the operating room, telling her she could “dress up” anything. She later included it in the name of her company.
Carter-Paige had to give up that career after she said she was diagnosed with uterine cancer. She was pregnant at the same time, but lost her child due to her illness when it was born prematurely. Doctors did their best to preserve her ability to have more children, and removed the 8-pound tumors.
She said she later had two more children.
Carter-Paige said she almost died several times during her cancer treatment, but kept working. In addition to her husband, she already had an older son that she had to think about.
When she started working for the Postal Service delivering mail, she said she saw something on her route: Many of her customers were going through the same struggles she was.
“I just started bringing people something sweet to make them smile,” Carter-Paige said, describing it as therapeutic, helping her recover from what she’s been through.
From there, her baking business began to flourish. She started working on a reboot here in East Texas when her family moved to Longview to help one of her sons recover from a traumatic experience. They had family in the area, and her family bought a house in Longview, where she hopes to eventually open her own bakery.
“We really like Longview. We felt this would be a really good place for our kids,” she said.
She said she was trying to get her desserts in the doors of some businesses in Longview when her husband found out the Browns were looking for someone to serve them desserts at the restaurant. She sampled some – sweet potato pies and pecan checkerboards and other sweets. It sold out that day.
“I was so shocked. I was so blessed that Chad and Karen let me in the door as my own business. It’s really exciting,” she said.
She said she would bring a variety of her delicious treats to the restaurant every day, including peach pies and all kinds of cakes — strawberry shortcake, lemon blueberry and Oreo brownies. It also makes large 6-ounce cookies in flavors that include Funfetti, Red Velvet and Tri-Chocolate Cookies. Brownies with caramel are also on her menu.
“These are meant to be shared with someone,” Carter-Paige said of her cookies.
Her website, www.finessintastytreats.com/, features pictures of the desserts she makes — fancy candied apples, cheesecake-filled strawberries and cheesecake-filled waffle cones, mini pies, muffins, cinnamon rolls and more. She also takes special orders for cakes for weddings, birthdays and other special events.