Sitting with me in Kitchen 66, Cynthia Zachary of Cintheez Family Bread said she started baking cinnamon raisin loaves to give as gifts when she was 18. Later, in the mid ‘90s, she left loaves behind and baked cloverleaf dinner rolls and cinnamon rolls. But she worked in the same spirit as she did before, sharing rolls with friends and family and selling them at fundraisers for her church.
With an increased local demand for her rolls, Zachary began to see her skill in a different light, though developing her business was a long time coming. Zachary went to school at OSU Institute of Technology in Okmulgee, enrolling in culinary training and business courses, which helped get her food "from the back road onto the freeway," as she puts it.
"While I was there," Zachary said of OSU, "I fell in love with cooking meats, because they teach you everything … Before I finished there, that’s when I started thinking, ‘You know, I can do something with this. I can sell my bread and cinnamon rolls.’"
Towards the end of 2015, having graduated with associate degrees in both culinary training and business, Zachary saw an advertisement for Kitchen 66. Halfway through the application process she considered not applying.
"But for some reason I just picked it back up, and then I got a call," she said.
Zachary was part of the first group enrolled in Kitchen 66’s six-month program in 2016, designed to help food entrepreneurs develop and launch all aspects of their businesses—from perfecting the food itself to design and marketing. Each company had to pitch their product in an ABC Shark Tank-like of environment, during which time mentors pushed Zachary to fully realize her vision.
Kitchen 66 is located downtown in the Sun Building (907 S. Detroit Ave.). We stood in the industrial-size kitchen space, where Zachary pulled two trays of cinnamon rolls out of an oven. Other Kitchen 66 companies were working all around us, cooking and baking, producing their products just like Zachary. She applied butter to the rolls with a brush, then drizzled heaps of icing onto them. The rolls were placed into containers marked with her logo and contact information. She handed one to me. I’m not exaggerating: I’ve never had a cinnamon roll like hers.
And there’s more to her story. In addition to making her rolls, Zachary now uses her culinary skills nearly once a week for breakfast and lunch takeovers at Kitchen 66. She cooks breakfast classics like sandwiches and sausage and gravy, as well as dishes like her asparagus "power breakfast." For lunch, she serves home-style meals like country ribs, pot roast, hamburgers, and grilled chicken, as well as newer dishes, including Philly cheesesteak sloppy joes and sandwiches with grilled eggplant and Swiss cheese.
Cintheez Family Bread will be at Kitchen 66 on March 9, 23, and 30, from 7:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Watch out for Cintheez frozen cinnamon rolls, dinner rolls, biscuits, and sausage and gravy at retailers soon. Follow Cintheez on Instagram or Facebook for updates.