Making baklava is a time-consuming process that involves buttering 60 layers of filo dough, but Thalia O’Gorman loves baking the Greek dessert.
O’Gorman owns Thalia’s Baklava, which recently began leasing space in OPP Kitchen located at 359 Furys Ferry Road in Martinez. She sells seven flavors of the dessert, including traditional, chocolate, blueberry, and espresso.
“It’s like apple pie; everybody who makes it has their own version of it,” said O’Gorman, a native of Connecticut. “And we all swear ours is the best.”
She grew up in a Greek family that has always enjoyed cooking and baking. She began making baklava, which also contains syrup and chopped nuts, eight or nine years ago and gave it to people as gifts. They loved it so much that O’Gorman decided to get her cottage license and launch a home-based business.
“I started doing the Augusta Market and got a really good response there,” she said. “I’d been looking for a shared kitchen space accessible from my home.”
O’Gorman also participated in Dessert Wars, a competition held at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, and she won a blue ribbon for her dessert at the 2016 Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival. She participated in this year’s Aiken’s Makin’ and brought 800 pieces of baklava to sell. By the end of the day, O’Gorman only had six pieces left.
Now that O’Gorman has joined OPP Kitchen, she has begun contacting local shop owners and restaurateurs to see if they would be interested in selling her baklava. A woman who plans to open a bakery in Aiken in February has already expressed interest in buying her baked goods.
O’Gorman has also created platters for weddings. For now, Thalia’s Baklava is her side gig. She also works as a full-time administrative assistant for a covid testing company, but she eventually wants to focus solely on her baklava business. O’Gorman manages her busy schedule by staying organized.
“It does come from love,” she said. “If you didn’t love it, you wouldn’t put in the extra hours in the evenings and on weekends. It’s not a chore for me to do this.”
O’Gorman plans to continue selling baklava at local events and farmers’ markets.
“I love the interaction with the people,” she said. “It’s a great way to get your name out there.”
O’Gorman wanted to participate in North Augusta’s Jack-O-Lantern Jubilee, but she missed the deadline to register as a vendor.
“I have all these things on my radar for next year,” O’Gorman said.
OPP Kitchen will host a Holiday Market tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the event, she will also hold a meet and greet for Thalia’s Baklava. For more information or to place an order, visit thaliasbaklava.com.