Right now, a debate is raging in the nation’s highest court – the question of whether bakers and other businesses that are open to the public should be required to serve all customers, equally, regardless of gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ability, or any aspect of their identity. If the U.S. Supreme Court sides with the owners of Colorado’s Masterpiece Cake Shop, it could undermine public accommodations protections for LGBTQ individuals throughout the country.
But for Alex Cagley-Wilson of the Sherwood bakery The Hungry Hero, the fight for inclusive public accommodation laws is personal. As an out married couple, Alex and his husband Zane have worked hard to build a business that welcomes everyone – and that’s why we are thrilled to have Alex join us as the emcee at our Oregonians Against Discrimination Business Leaders Luncheon on April 19!
Alex got his start as an interior designer & event designer – but he found that when working on weddings, he often took on the anxiety of the bride and family as his own. He loved being a part of the industry and helping others plan their special day, so he decided to go to culinary school and channel his passion into baking instead.
At first, his baking business started small – operating out of his own kitchen with Zane as his taste-tester. He told us, “I have always loved food, I love how people experience the world through food, and I have always loved love. So being a baker in the wedding industry was my dream.”
As the business grew, it became clear he would need a commercial kitchen. That’s how he found himself working from the catering kitchen of Fat Milos, a diner in downtown Sherwood. As a breakfast-only establishment, that left Alex with plenty of time to produce wedding cakes and other celebratory desserts in the restaurant’s off-hours.
Soon enough, Alex and Zane were able to expand to their own storefront – a retail location in Sherwood’s main street retail strip. They hoped that with their own space, they would be able to create a sense of community, bring people together around food, and celebrate life’s important occasions.
“There is nothing better than working with a cause we love and giving people yummy things to enjoy,” Alex said, “all while supporting issues important to making the world a better place.”
Hungry Hero is more than just community fixture in Sherwood – the bakery is also a long-time partner of Basic Rights Oregon. Alex has provided gorgeous dessert bars for our events, including our Ignite gala and dance party.
In 2014, after the marriage equality decision was announced, Alex and Zane spent an entire night baking to support Oregon’s first day of marriage equality. They pulled up to the Melody Ballroom with wedding cakes and a dessert bar to help every couple getting married that day have a magical experience.
Now, Alex is participating in a competition to bake a wedding cake for celebrity chef Cat Cora and her wife. On, March 27th he’s flying to Nashville to participate in a taste test with Kelly Pickler, as one of three finalists. If he’s chosen, he’ll be leaving our OAD luncheon in April and hopping straight on a plane to Santa Barbara to make the wedding cake for Cat Cora and her wife! For Alex, this opportunity is a dream come true, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed.
If you’d like to support business owners like Alex and Zane, who are working hard to create affirming and inclusive spaces here in Oregon, join us for our Oregonians Against Discrimination luncheon on April 19. You can get more information and buy your tickets here. You’ll even get the chance to try some of Alex and Zane’s delicious desserts at the event.
The event will honor Starbucks and ¿Por Qué No? Taqueria, and is sponsored by Intel, JP Morgan Chase, Powell Phones, Providence Health & Services, New Seasons Market, Oregon Health & Science University, Lane Powell, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, Stoel Rives LLP, The Standard, TriMet, Wells Fargo, Nike, Enterprise and Morel Ink. #OregonOpentoAll