Meet Eric See, one of the brilliant chefs behind The Happy HoliGays Cookie Box

The Happy HoliGays Cookie Box has made its triumphant return this year, raising vital funds for LGBTQ+ youth charity The Ali Forney Center.

An image of Chef Eric See who is featured in this article for his work with The HoliGays Cookie Box.
Image: via Instagram @erictheawkwardscone

The Happy HoliGays Cookie Box has returned for the second year in a row to “celebrate queer culinary excellence” and raise important funds for The Ali Forney Center in New York.

There will be a selection of baked goods created by chefs from all across the globe, including our Emerald Isle. “From NYC to Detroit, Mexico to Ireland, this year’s colourful cast of queer chefs have come together from miles apart to help raise holiday spirits and funds for The Ali Forney Center, the country’s largest transitional and community housing system for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, located here in NYC.” 

The treats featured in this box include: a Lemon-Coco Jamaican Sunrise Cookie (Lincoln Alexander), a Tahini-Pine Nut Cookie (Silvia Barban), Chocolate Cherry Crinkle Cookies (Gian Martinez), Brown Sugar ‘n’ Spice Fetish Pigs (Rick Martinez), Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti (Dan Pelosi), a Tahini-Miso Cookie with Persimmon Jam (Halo Perez Gallardo), a Salty-Sweet Irish Oat Cookie (JR Ryall), a Peanut Butter & Purple Sweet Potato Cookie (Mavis Jay Sanders), a Pecan-Lavender Mexican Wedding Cookie (Eric See), Gingersnaps (Nik Sharma), a Sesame-Pink Peppercorn Mochi Cookie (Hannah Wong), and lastly, a Coconut Sugar Cookie (Hunter Zuli).

We spoke with Eric See, one of the incredibly talented chefs featured in The Happy HoliGays Cookie Box. Eric told us about the project, his Pecan-Lavender Mexican Wedding cookie and what inspired him to become a chef.


How did the idea for The Happy HoliGays Cookie Box come about?

The idea for a queer-centric cookie box came about last year after having participated in numerous collective fundraisers myself, yet none that were mutually beneficial to queer chefs and queer community. So, it started as an idea to uplift, celebrate and support queer culinary excellence, while also raising funds and awareness for one of my favourite programs. The chefs involved are all offered a stipend for their recipe, which we produce at Ursula on their behalf unless they choose to have it directed to the Ali Forney Center. Local chefs are offered a higher stipend to produce and package their own cookies.  So, it was intended to be a two-fold project supporting our community in both directions. 

Can you tell us why you chose the Ali Forney Center to be the recipient of 100% of the profits?

I’ve worked with the Ali Forney Center for four or five years now to help raise awareness and funding. It’s a really wonderful organisation that provides emergency or transitional housing for about 2,000 homeless LGBTQ+ youth in NYC. It’s the largest shelter system of its kind in the USA. They also provide culinary training, hot meals, gender-affirming care, mental health care, job readiness training and continuing education opportunities for young LGBTQ+ folks. They are also about to close on a beautiful brownstone home that will become the first in its system to provide transitional housing exclusively for trans clients. 

What inspired you to pursue being a Chef?

I love gathering around food, it’s the universal connector. But, I’ve had wanderlust since a young age. I’ve always been interested in the exchange of food and culture, the intersections of evolution and preservation of traditions and community and have been in the hospitality industry since I could legally have a job. So it’s less a moment of inspiration and more of a calling, or as fate would have it.

Can you tell us about your Pecan-Lavender Mexican Wedding cookie that’s featured in the box?

The cookie we baked for the box was a Mexican Wedding cookie with the addition of lavender and pecans. A homage to my home state of New Mexico, where my aunt would make her version for the holidays annually, and inspired by a beautiful lavender farm in the heart of my hometown, Albuquerque. (New Mexico is also the largest Pecan producer in the country, which most people don’t know)

For more information about the Happy HoliGays Cookie Box and the chefs involved with the project, click here

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