By Erma Brooks Williams, Ed.D.
Growing up in Beverly/Morgan Park with his six siblings and being raised by his grandmother, Rosie Lee Clark, Cedrick White, 37 and owner of Drip Drop Bakery, 1844 W. 95th St., felt safe and the entire community treated everyone like family.
White and his siblings attended Kellogg Elementary School. While at Kellogg, he had the opportunity to participate in a culinary arts program at Emerson Junior High School in suburban Niles, where one of his teachers observed his interest in cooking. As a result, she encouraged him to pursue the culinary arts.
“I fell in love with cooking,” White said.
While attending Morgan Park High School, White attended the Hotel and Restaurant Show at McCormick Place. He took an interest in the Cordon Bleu booth, where he noticed there were all male chefs. “I was amazed because in my experience, I was never exposed to male chefs. My exposure had always been female chefs,” he said.
“In my junior year, I was confronted with deciding between being a fireman or cooking. I chose my passion, cooking. I went on to study at Cordon Bleu . . . then enrolled in Washburn Trade School at Kennedy-King College. I apprenticed at the Parrott Cage in the South Shore Country Club and then transferred to Sikia, where I had a chance to manage the restaurant.”
After graduating from Kennedy King College in Culinary Arts, White enrolled at Roosevelt University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Food Science and Sports Management.
“I had the opportunity to work for Lettuce Entertain You and loved it,” he said. “From there, I took a job at CPS. My desire was to improve the food service experience of students because I had not-so- good memories about the food as a student.”
White got involved with meal planning at Chicago Public Schools. “I felt I made a difference in the food experience of children eating the food at CPS,” he said.
“From 2011 to 2012, I baked and sold butter cookies from the back of my car trunk,” White recalled. “I cooked and sold approximately 30 bags daily. My Oreo Cakes also took off in sales. My other favorites are Strawberry Short Cake, Pound Cake, and Strawberry Cheese Cake.”
“In 2019, right before the pandemic, I signed the lease at my current location. I decided on this location because I grew up in Beverly. People in Beverly are very supportive,” he said.
When asked how he was able to finance his business, “Unfortunately, both Chase and Citibank downtown locations denied me a loan, although I had a credit score of 863. My account had never been in arrears. I had a business plan.”
White was given a generous car loan but not a loan to finance my business. “I ended up financing my business with my personal funds,” White said.
White aims to buy a building and establish his bakery so he can pass the business and property on to his children. While now he has a few contracts, his vision is to expand his revenue by securing contracts from CPS and other entities.
When asked who his role models are, White said “Ra Joy, who ran for Lt. Governor of Illinois in 2018 and former Alderman Peter Braithwaite of Evanston. Both men treat me like family and have accepted me as a son. They constantly stress how hard work pays off. “