Pam Minhas: Baking Cakes and More by the Ocean
Before she found success as a chocolatier and owner of Baked and Twice Baked coffee bars in Dewey and Rehoboth, Pam Minhas had a dream: “I wanted to be a civil engineer so I could build bridges.”
A native of Cheverly, MD, just outside Washington, D.C., Pam was one of five children, including an identical twin sister Patty. Abandoned by their father, Pam and her siblings were raised by her mother, who worked full-time as a data processor. Later, she re-married and adopted two Korean-born siblings, bringing the clan count to seven.
Just before Pam entered senior year of high school, the family relocated to the Mechanicsburg, PA area. “I totally loved math, especially trigonometry,” Pam says, “and you have to be good at math if you want to be a civil engineer.”
In 1981 Pam graduated from Red Land Senior High School in Etters, PA and went to Penn State University’s York campus. After one year, Pam left college. “I just wasn’t ready for college yet.” She enlisted in the Army, serving seven years in Personnel Management. Pam’s Army career took her all over the world, including South Korea and California.
While in the Army, Pam got married and, after her honorable discharge, gave birth to her daughter Nicole, now twenty-eight. When Nicole was two, Pam and her husband divorced. That’s when Pam realized she “liked girls better than men.”
Just before leaving the Army, Pam discovered she had a knack for computers; it was the mid 1980s and the nascent personal computer industry was “taking off.” Pam moved back to York and started an IT career, first as a computer technician and trainer, then with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and finally a 21-year career with Maple Press as IT Manager. Pam eventually graduated college, with a Business Management degree from California’s Monterey Peninsula College.
Pam’s time at the beach began in 2004, when she owned and operated Bike 2 Go on Rehoboth Avenue. “I’d been coming to Rehoboth for years as a favorite vacation spot. I wanted to try my hand at being an entrepreneur, first with Bike 2 Go, then later with Blue Bistro & Wine Bar in Harrisburg, PA.”
Unfortunately, after opening Blue Bistro & Wine Bar in 2011, Pam was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. As a distraction from treatments, she signed up for a college level class to become a chocolatier. “It was important to have a positive outlet and give back to all the caregivers helping me.” Then, Pam made a life-changing decision: to quit her IT job and move back to Rehoboth and open…a coffee bar and bakery?
“I had just completed a year of grueling cancer treatment. I realized how short life can be and decided that if I was going to follow a dream, then now is the time to do it. At a young age, I developed a passion for cooking. My military travels opened my eyes to a whole new world of flavors. My time in Korea helped me develop all my senses to food… sweet, salty, sour, bitter, spicy and Umami, most often referred to as ‘savory.’ My travels also landed me in the land of abundance… California, the salad bowl of the world. The Farm to Table concept was already popular in the 80s in California. My real passion comes from sharing my food and watching others appreciate it.”
In 2014 Pam bought the former Bistro Café in Dewey and re-opened it as Baked Coffee Bar and Bakery. This summer, she opened a second location, Twice Baked, in the former Starbucks on Rehoboth’s Route 1. Both locations offer a complete range of baked goods, breads, and desserts, made fresh daily from scratch using Pam’s recipes. They also offer delicious sandwiches, salads, soups, and Buddha Bowls, using organic veggies and nitrate free meats, plus “cold-brewed” coffee to go, bottled daily.
Inspiration comes from the ocean and the sunrise: “I’m naturally a morning person, and it’s that very early time when the sun starts to peek out and the ocean is just beginning to stir, that’s what motivates me every day. It’s in the peacefulness of the mornings, in the silence when I find my creative talent. I believe everyone has creative talent, and if you get to live in that moment for one day, that’s success.”
One of Pam’s favorite moments happened just a week ago, when former Vice President Joe Biden walked into Twice Baked. “I’m a huge Joe Biden fan. I think I almost fell over myself to meet him in person. He was lovely. I chatted with him for about five minutes.”
Twice Baked’s Grand Opening Weekend is Saturday and Sunday, September 16-17, and Pam invites everyone to stop by and visit. Thank you Pam for bringing your talents to the beach and building different kinds of bridges!