Marcia Wiggins of Cape Whoopies is the hardest working hype woman in the game. Her unbridled enthusiasm and support for everyone in the Fork kitchen (as well as everyone in the Portland food scene) keeps us all going when the going gets tough. Besides her verbal marketing skills, Marcia is also a talented baker and team leader (ask her about her crew of Whoopettes!) who produces hundreds of Maine's finest whoopie pies each week. Her pies are sold in various shops in the Portland area, as well as online through the e-retailer Goldbely. Check out her story below!
What was your first job?
Working for Grayline sightseeing tours. I had a desk in a hotel lobby in DC. Every day after school I sat at the desk at told tourists what to see in DC. I did that for 3-4 years in high school. The next job I had was working on a fundraiser for the RNC. Then I worked for a senator for a number of years.
How did you get involved with food work?
In high school, preparing for college, I thought I would be a painter. I did a lot of paintings, won a lot of competitions, and did the whole gallery thing, and I realized, I’m a very creative person but I didn’t like the people that were coming to buy the artwork. So I still maintain that the best thing I have going is that I’m very creative, but I shifted my view and went to food. I wanted to share with a broader audience.
What motivates you to continue and grow your business?
Not just one thing. The driving force is that I absolutely love being creative and sharing with other people. Those things I would be doing no matter what.
Who are some food entrepreneurs that you admire?
There’s so many, and for so many reasons. It goes in every possible direction. My son in law, who’s an amazing chef and can put together combinations of flavors that are totally unexpected and unbelievable. I find him amazing. I love Tyler Florence! For the longest time I thought, what an amazing chef. He had a show called Recipe 911, and he would come to your house and teach you how to make whatever you wanted to make. I love Bobby Flay and the way that he communicates what he’s doing and how he seems totally comfortable whether he has a big success or a failure. I aspire to that ‘sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t’ attitude.
What’s your go-to weeknight dinner?
It’s a chicken piccata offshoot. A seared meat with sherry and lemon juice and onion and garlic. I add vegetables and olives, capers, anything.
Where do you like to eat in Maine?
If I were left to my own devices, David’s. Both locations are good. Also, Street and Company. Every time I go I get scallops in Pernod and it’s just so good. I keep trying to order something else and I can’t! The atmosphere is very cozy and I love it. I even love walking down Wharf Street to get there.
What inspires your creativity with your product?
My husband was an airline pilot for 30 years, so I was able to go to a lot of places and try a lot of wonderful food. In every city there’s something they’re very proud of, that’s on every corner, and each city has a different thing that they do. In Brussels, it’s a waffle. Here, it’s whoopie pies. So jumping into whoopie pies was really difficult in a place where whooppie pies are king. But it created a challenge for me of ‘if you can do it here, you can really do it.” So I was off and running!