Cookies by Chef Coy: Behind the Book with Secoyah Browne

What began as a late night stress-relieving activity from a job in real estate finance has become a brand worth watching and a cookbook you’ll want to literally sink your teeth into. Author, baker, and co-business owner Secoyah Browne’s unrivaled creations celebrate her Trinidadian heritage and cookie-making talent. We chatted with Browne about the ethos of her company Whisk & Whiskey, her baking inspirations, and how she decides which cookies make the cut. Plus, read about her bookmaking process, marketing efforts, and (spoiler alert) the next cookbooks to come!

You’ve gone from real estate finance to co-owner and executive pastry chef at Whisk & Whiskey and now to cookbook creator. Can you tell us about this wild career path? 

Transitioning from the Real Estate Finance industry to the world of Baking and Pastry Arts turned out to be surprisingly smooth for me. Following my culinary school experience, I ran a home bakery right from my kitchen. Juggling my nine-to-five job in real estate finance during the day, I found solace in the evening by baking cookies and cakes. 

The turning point came during the pandemic when my home baking business saw a threefold increase in sales. It dawned on me that this venture had the potential to be more than just a side hustle. Simultaneously, the pandemic served as a stark reminder of life’s preciousness, motivating me to take a leap of faith in myself. I decided to leave my job entirely and, alongside two friends, launch Whisk & Whiskey. 

Your restaurant celebrates your Trinidadian heritage, uplifts underrepresented voices in the industry, and promotes local small businesses and artisans. How do your values shape your decisions? 

When envisioning Whisk & Whiskey, my partners and I embarked on a mission to forge a home away from home. We aimed to curate a space that warmly embraced everyone—a place to dance, and savor cocktails, pastries, and bites that celebrated our diverse cultural backgrounds. It’s a haven for sharing laughter and creating lasting memories. What we sought was a space we could authentically claim as ours—a true source of pride. Remarkably, we discovered that we had organically crafted a space the community had longed for. 

Secoyah Browne holding self published cookbook Cookies by Chef Coy

What inspired you to write your cookbook Cookies by Chef Coy

Being a devoted Martha Stewart fan since childhood, I’d eagerly flip through the pages of her cook and lifestyle books, marveling at her expertise. It was during those moments of admiration that I knew, as I grew older, I would pen my very own cookbook. Fast forward a couple of decades, the joy people found in my recipes solidified this aspiration, prompting me to take the leap and bring my cookbook dream to fruition. 

Could you describe your creative methodology while working on your book? 

Initiating the creative journey for Cookies by Chef Coy began with a deliberate choice to carve out a specific niche for my book. While the world of patisseries and recipes offered a vast array of possibilities, I recognized the importance of narrowing my focus for a more cohesive and enjoyable experience for both the reader and myself. 

Setting my sights on cookies, I was driven by the desire to create an accessible delight for novice bakers. To achieve this, I meticulously curated a list of cookie recipes, emphasizing simplicity in both ingredients and instructions. Each chosen recipe was not only a treat for the taste buds but also a feast for the eyes, ensuring a visually stunning and delicious outcome. The goal was to provide a delightful and seamless baking experience, making the art of crafting delectable cookies accessible to all.

Secoyah Browne, co-owner and executive pastry chef at Whisk & Whiskey

How did you decide which recipes made the cut? And why did you stick with cookies? 

In the pages of my book, you’ll discover a collection of recipes that’s more than just a compilation—it’s a thoughtfully curated selection that captures the very essence of my brand. These recipes aren’t merely crowd-pleasers; they’re the ones that consistently elicit the most enthusiastic feedback from our patrons. Each holds a special place in my heart, serving as a testament to the time and care invested in perfecting them over the years. 

Furthermore, I’ve artfully woven in recipes that carry a profound sense of nostalgia, acting as culinary conduits that transport both myself and readers back to cherished moments from my past. Every cookie featured is a reflection of the intricate tapestry woven from flavors, memories, and joy, defining not only my bakery but also the colorful journey of my culinary endeavors. As you delve into these recipes, you’re not just tasting cookies; you’re savoring a narrative—a delicious story that weaves together the history of my craft and the delightful moments that have shaped it. 

Walk us through your book design process. Does your creativity in the kitchen translate easily to bookmaking? 

When envisioning the design for my book, Cookies by Chef Coy, my primary goal was to ensure that my aesthetic not only shone through but resonated with the readers on a visceral level. I aimed for an atmosphere that was not just seen but felt—a visual and sensory journey that complemented the deliciousness within the pages. 

I embraced a design ethos that echoed cleanliness and simplicity. Imagine flipping through the book and being greeted by a flood of natural light, illuminating each carefully crafted cookie in all its glory. I wanted the visuals to be a seamless extension of the delectable treats within—a symphony of clean lines, uncluttered layouts, and a celebration of the artistry behind each cookie creation. 

Beyond merely showcasing recipes, I saw the design as a crucial part of the storytelling. It wasn’t just about presenting a list of instructions but rather creating an immersive experience where the readers could almost smell the tantalizing aromas wafting from the pages. 

In essence, my creativity played a pivotal role in shaping not only the culinary content but also the visual and tactile aspects of the book. It was about crafting an environment where every page beckoned the reader to step into the world of delightful cookies and experience the artistry that went into their creation. 

Secoyah Browne signing self published cookbook Cookies by Chef Coy

What marketing tactics have been the most successful for your book? And are there any that you’ve tried that you won’t do again?

I’ve strategically leveraged Whisk & Whiskey, Instagram, and TikTok for cross-promoting Cookies by Chef Coy. I also held a book signing party which I think added a personal touch for my community and cookie enthusiasts alike. When it comes to marketing tactics, I’m open to trying anything. I firmly believe in experimenting and discovering what resonates. 

What led you to self-publish? And why did you choose Blurb? 

Embracing self-publishing was a conscious choice driven by my longing for absolute creative freedom. With a vivid vision for Cookies by Chef Coy, I was steadfast in keeping the project under my own guidance. Opting for the Blurb platform was a natural fit, as its user-friendly interface proved unrivaled in the realm of self-publishing. The inclusion of Illustrator and InDesign plugins not only streamlined the process but also saved me substantial time. It was a game-changer, allowing me to bring my vision to life efficiently. 

Do you have advice to offer other chefs embarking on a self-publishing journey? 

For fellow chefs venturing into the self-publishing journey, my advice is to give yourself grace. Place less emphasis on the timeline and redirect your focus toward crafting the highest quality book achievable. 

Is there anything exciting you’re working on that we should stay tuned for? 

Presently, I’m in the process of curating a bakeware line, with the goal launch date for Q3/Q4 of 2024. The prospect of expanding the Chef Coy brand with additional products fills me with immense excitement. Looking ahead, anticipate the sequel, Cookies by Chef Coy Part 2, alongside ventures like Cakes by Chef Coy and Breads by Chef Coy in the pipeline. The journey is only getting started, and I can’t wait to share more delectable creations with you. 


Blurb is a print-on-demand company built for indie creators. Inspired to create your own book of art and words? Blurb makes it easy to self-publish your own book—whether you want to print it for yourself or sell it to your fans.

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