From as far back as he can remember Ralph Rolle has always marched to the beat of a different drum. It is therefore no surprise that with more than three and a half decades of professional experience within the music industry Ralph Rolle enjoys an illustrious career as a much sought after drummer. He has made music with the likes of Nile Rodgers and Chic, Sting, Bono, , Aretha Franklin, Biggie Smalls, Queen Latifah, Chris Botti Erakah Badu, D’Angelo, India Arie and the resident band for N.B.C. ‘It’s Showtime at The Apollo’ for over 15 seasons, and as served as the musical director for The Caroline Rhea Show and Japanese superstar Toshi Kubota.
No stranger to dishin’ out a good groove Ralph is a custom to serving up heaping portions of soul, that leaves appetites wet with anticipation and desire – salivating and begging for more! His forte however is not only in stimulating the senses but also in satisfying them. To this end Ralph has been able to successfully transfer his creativity behind drums and cymbals to the context of mixing bowls and baking pans, by establishing the New York base Soul Snacks Cookie Company. Although the company was founded in 1996 the Soul Snacks recipe has a long and interesting history that dates back to the early 1900’s. Ralph Rolle has perpetuated the traditions of his maternal grandmother Leola who was born in Ocilla, Georgia, moved to Miami, started a family and later migrated to Harlem in the Renaissance years. Leola baked fresh bread for family, friends and church during the time where the artistic and cultural energy was high and the community spirit even higher. The Soul Snacks Cookie Co. deliberately harkens back to that bountiful time and employs a philosophy deeply committed to giving back to the community whose rhythms make up the essence of what has become one heck of a soulful concoction. “My plans for expansion are rooted in the promise and the potential of the community,” states Ralph emphatically. Dreams do come true. Ralph’s 1250 square foot baking facility in the South Bronx is the new home for The Soul Snacks Cookie Company where he continues to grow and employ individuals from his old stomping ground, The Bronx River Projects.
Soul Snacks have been enjoyed by many both locally and internationally: Whoopi Goldberg, Bette Midler, Chris Rock, Jennifer Lopez, Gladys Knight, Steve Harvey, Doug E. Fresh, Roberta Flack, Toshi Kubota, Sinbad, Mo’Nique, D’Angelo, Kid Capri and Russell Simmons, with clients such as Westside Market, Franks Market, and many more. The ABC TV host, Robin Roberts of Good Morning America fame chose Soul Snacks for her holiday gifting in 2011. On her list of people who received cookies were George Stephanopoulos and many more. In 2015, Bette Midler and Ralph met when Nile Rodgers and Chic were the guest artists and Ms. Midler’s annual Hulaween Charity event. Ralph always has cookies with him. He calls it his “cookie calling card”. Ms. Midler loved Soul Snacks so much that she made a promise to order cookies for the holidays for all of her friends and family and she absolutely did. The cookies were a hit. Soul Snacks can be found in many stores, cafes, hospitals and deli’s in Manhattan, Brooklyn, The Bronx as well as offered through the internet.
The company offers a variety of delicious cookies such as Georgia Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Peanut Butter, Down Home Double Chocolate Chip, Ebony and Ivory Almond Cookie, Grampy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie, French Cocoa Chocolate Chip, Miami Raisin Walnut, Chunked Up Chocolate Walnut, Cranberry Oatmeal Raisin, Joyful Gingerbread and the recently added novel and now the number one seller that is the rant and rave of all those who taste it, Sweet Potato Cookies. Inside of every cookie is years of heart, soul and lots of pride that has been the main ingredient of Souls Snacks Cookies for over a century. Soul Snacks have attracted satisfied customers in Japan, Europe, Africa, The West Indies, Canada, and throughout The United States.
While the company seeks to expand its outreach into mainstream distribution channels and national retail outlets, plans also include the opening of a gathering place called Soul Snacks Café in Manhattan. A food and dessert cafe where nothing but the most mouthwatering Southern foods, desserts, drinks and music are served in an atmosphere cozy and authentic enough to invoke the classic elegance of the Harlem Renaissance.
The unique taste of Down South never fails to grab the attention of those who appreciate the comfort of a sweet mouthful of soul. The first taste of a cookie from The Soul Snack Cookie Co. always summons the same “Oh My Goodness” expression to customers’ faces. It’s an expression that mixes a “what in the world is this” surprise with a certain recognition: the recognition of tradition and custom, and Sundays after church, and home cooking, and the distinctive taste of the cultural diversity that informs the American sweet tooth.