NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There are a lot of things we love about baking. It makes the kitchen smell great, it’s creative, and, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, it’s a great stress reliever.
One local baker serves sweets while serving justice — and he’s the focus of this week’s Snapshot New York with CBS2’s Steve Overmyer.
We have that lasting image of a baker — jovial, creative, patient, precise.
Surrounded by family, inspirational sayings and meticulously maintained appliances, Hesse is at home in a kitchen.
His specialty? Cupcakes.
“To me, its all how you put it together,” George Hesse said. “I think cupcakes are the way to go.”
His kitchen wouldn’t be possible without the help of a woman whose image offers inspiration, his grandmother.
“That is my grandmother,” Hesse said. “She passed away last year and she left a little money behind and I was able to buy a commercial oven and put this little kitchen together so I can continue on with my passion for baking.”
And so, he bakes. The simple process of whisking a bowl of flour puts his mind at ease.
“It gets me away from the job. It allows me to think about something else,” Hesse said.
Overmyer pointed out that baking almost allows the brain to reset, to which Hesse replied, “It’s funny you say that because I use that term all the time, ‘reset.'”
It turns out, Hesse needed to reset following a stressful day.
“Yeah, yesterday I was almost involved in a shooting,” he said.
His creations are made to serve and devour. His real job is to serve and protect. George is the chief of the Ocean Beach Police Department on Fire Island. The day before CBS2 arrived almost changed his life.
“I had a suspect come at me with some kind of pipe or pole over his head like a samurai warrior and he was maybe a step away from being shot,” Hesse said, adding when he looks back on something like that it makes each and every day going forward a little sweeter.
“You know, right after that I did all the paperwork I had to do … and I came here and baked off 100 cupcakes,” Hesse said. “I gotta tell you, I felt a lot better, de-stressing with my family. I’m gonna do this and I’m gonna focus on work later.”
For the past 25 years Hesse has been defending the laws of Ocean Beach. Now this community leader is part of the fabric of his town’s personal events — with “copcakes.”
“I really enjoy seeing the reaction of people when they realize I am a police officer and I deliver such a pretty product,” Hesse said.
He’s making a fraction of the salary of his full-time job, but his motivation isn’t money. His currency is smiles.
“There’s no doughnuts in my police department, just cupcakes,” Hesse said. “You know, with a little swirl, a little twist, a little squeeze, you got yourself a little rosette.”
“I’ve known people to scrape some of the icing off, and that annoys me,” he added. “Don’t offend me. Just eat it.”
He turns eggs and flour into a fairy tale. The results are enjoyed happily ever after dinner.
“Find something that makes you happy outside of work, and I’ll tell ya what, I found something and I do enjoy it,” Hesse said.
Hesse said his greatest joy is watching people react to the taste of his cupcakes. But he doesn’t give them out to everyone. If you land in his jail, he said you don’t deserve his cupcakes.