Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O'Neal Signs at Borders Books

Today’s post comes from a story in the Wall Street Journal about Ms. Rose, a baker who made per pies famous by getting them in the hands of Shaquille O’Neal:

“Though in pie circles the 63-year-old Dorothy Pryor Rose is now well known, she is hardly your average celebrity chef. Her operation is housed in a  strip-mall storefront sandwiched between a police substation and a Big Lots retailer.

Her big break came shortly after she opened her Mommie Helen’s bakery in 2000, when a friend got her the phone number of someone who was helping to organize a charity event that basketball star Shaquille O’Neal was involved with. She sent some of her pies and cobblers to that event, and Mr. O’Neal was hooked. She ended up doing more catering for him, and then made individual peach cobblers for each guest to take home after his 2002 wedding.

Mr. O’Neal, through his spokesman, calls Ms. Rose “a very sweet lady” gifted with “the baking touch” reminiscent of home. Around the holidays, he orders peach cobbler, sweet-potato pie and pound cake.

The nod from Mr. O’Neal helped her acquire an upper-crust clientele. Retired basketball great Magic Johnson’s favorites include sweet-potato pie and peach cobbler, a representative says. Singer Mariah Carey occasionally orders sweet-potato pie too, her publicist confirms, while her rapper husband Nick Cannon favors a concoction Ms. Robs dubs “So It 2 Me,” a pound cake made with brown sugar and sour cream. Fans say the pies are unusually rich and deeply flavored.

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