COOKONA’s increasing success and ever-growing popularity means the expansion of its employee base. From humble beginnings, when Sabrina single-handedly ran the business from the baking of every cookie and the delivery of these sweet treats across Barcelona with the bike, to the opening of her cookie dough cafe on Rosselló. As there was only one Sabrina, increasing demand for edible cookie dough meant that help was needed. So, she began her search for talented bakers who shared the same love for all things cookie to help her run the shop and produce even more cookie goodness around Barcelona.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Aliana arrived in Barcelona in September 2015. ‘I came from a bad situation in my hometown. There are a lot of problems at the moment and I knew I wanted to move away for some time’ she explained. Although she had never been to Barcelona before, she had friends living here who told her stories about the city and its people. ‘I had an instant connection with Barcelona. It was strange at first as I wasn’t used to so many changes. It was my first time living alone away from my family and even the language was different. Although I speak Spanish I have different vocabulary and expressions to Spanish people and of course here Catalan is spoken. Most of all, it was my first real winter. I come from a hot climate and it was a big shock to experience a cold winter. I wasn’t prepared’.
Caracas, described by some as one of the most dangerous cities in South America, is a world away from the hustle and bustle and mass tourism Barcelona knows today. Although she is a long way from her Latin roots, Aliana is beginning to feel more at home here. ‘There is a growing community of Venezuelans in Barcelona now so I am starting to feel more comfortable. I can even find arepas and some of the food I used to have back home’.
Aliana studied architecture in Venezuela, but came to Barcelona to pursue another passion, photography. Upon arrival, she enrolled at a photography school and studied part-time as well as babysitting for local families. She stumbled across COOKONA by accident when out for a walk around the local neighbourhood. ‘I live just two blocks away and found this place by coincidence one day when I was out walking around with my boyfriend. We went for burgers and decided to come for cookie dough ice cream after. I loved this place and got talking with Sabrina and realised she was looking for help, so I asked her for a job and here I am now’ she explained. Aliana didn’t have any baking experience and so Sabrina taught her everything she knows about baking the perfect cookies. ‘It’s funny because I never baked before and when I tell my mum I do it for work now she laughs!’
Her favourite cookie flavour is the vegan banana and the classic chocolate chip.