Coconut Baby, a tale of two countries

Allison Burnham took her talents back home to Barbados and has since expanded her cooking palette to include vegan dishes.
Allison Burnham

It takes a little change to reach a new height that may have remained unattainable when stagnant.

Opting to move “back home” despite being warned that there may be nothing to do there, New York-born Allison Burnham moved to her parent’s island Barbados two years ago.

According to Burnham, “Ever since I was a kid the running joke was when my parents would have people ask me where I’m from and I’d be like, ‘I’m from Barbados’ and they would say, ‘you’ve never seen Barbados what are you talking about?’”

Upon relocating, her love for her cultural heritage can be seen in her cooking.

“I finally decided to make the leap and I’m very glad that I did because it totally opened up my world in the sense of my cooking and in my baking. I’m able to experiment and try new things that I would never have been privy too had I not moved to the Caribbean,” she explained.

Burnham, who holds degrees in art advertising, business communication, and culinary arts, maintained various side-hustle catering business while working full time for New York City transit.

While running her cake side business, Infused Cakes by Allison, Burnham decided to expand her menu options — prompting her to rebrand into her business’ current name Coconut Baby. This rebranding process all occurred whilst she made the decision to try her hands at Caribbean living.

“Infused Cakes by Allison transformed in Coconut Baby because I had to start making other things and then I wanted to incorporate my Caribbean heritage to it. Then I decided I was moving to Barbados so everything happened at the same time,” she said.

Allison Burnham creates both sweet and savory treats, pictured is a lemon and blueberry crumb loaf.
Allison Burnham

Coconut Baby offers sweet bites such as a mango-christophine upside down cake, flavored coconut chips, various juices, savory options, and even vegan recipes such as her banana bread.

“I’ve always wanted to do vegan cooking but I never felt the need to,” she explained. “It’s not until I moved to the Caribbean that I was like I need to create something completely different and stop trying to make it taste like something else.”

Visiting New York two to three times out of the year — often trying to avoid the wintry months — Burnham is ready to expand her slice of Barbados to include a New York imprint.

“My plan is to branch out here and open up something here as well,” she said.

Whether that is through exploring the world of exporting her flavored coconut chips or setting up some type of storefront, Burnham is ready to explore the idea of having something a little permanent in her second home.

You can sample Burnham’s taste of Barbados at the Stuyvesant Independent Arts Bazaar, featuring artisans of various genres and workshops, every weekend until Dec. 20.

Stuyvesant Independent Arts Bazaar (375 Stuyvesant Ave. between Decatur and Bainbridge streets in Bedstuy, www.coconutbabybarbados.com) Nov. 28 – Dec. 20, 12 midnight. Free.

Reach reporter Alley Olivier at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at aoliv[email protected]nglocal.com. Follow Alley on Twitter @All3Y_B.
Allison Burnham creates both sweet and savory treats, pictured is a mango mousse with cassava coconut cake.
Allison Burnham

More from Around NYC