TikToker Keith Lee, who helps support small food businesses, surprises bakery owner on 'GMA'

Bakery on Bergen owner Akim Vann received a sweet surprise from TikTok food sensation Keith Lee.

ByKelly McCarthy ABCNews logo
Thursday, January 26, 2023
TikToker Keith Lee helps surprise deserving small businesses
Lee is on a mission to save small businesses with his viral TikTok reviews and puts a spotlight on Akim Vann of Bakery on Bergen in Brooklyn, New York.

NEW YORK -- Keith Lee has become a viral sensation for his food reviews on TikTok that help bring new customers and new life into struggling small businesses. The food creator recently took his talents to the Big Apple for a sweet surprise.

On Thursday, Lee joined "Good Morning America" to meet Akim Vann, owner of Bakery on Bergen in Brooklyn, and deliver a treat that doesn't come from a pastry case.

Eight years ago Vann started her business in the heart of Brooklyn with a goal to invest back into her neighborhood and serve as a role model to kids in the community.

"My mom really took leadership into her own hands in terms of curating a space that wasn't just for her," her son Chi Osse told "GMA."

Vann's friend Anita Bushell explained that the small business owner tapped into "her extraordinary math skills" to "set up this additional kind of framework within the bakery, where she tutors students and works as a student coach."

Another close friend, Dawn Siciliani, added, "More people need to see women, women of color, single women, mothers that are doing things that are unique to themselves."

Osse, meanwhile, called his mother "fierce" and "inspiring."

"She's always believed in us," her son continued. "When folks tell me I can't do something or have to wait my turn, even though I know I'm ready, I still go out and do it and accomplish it because that's how I was raised."

After welcoming in "GMA" and Lee into the bakery Thursday morning, Vann was still unaware that a TikTok feature highlighting her food and work was actually a ruse to help reinvigorate her business.

"It feels so good," she said after hearing the kind words from her friends and loved ones.

Lee, who visited the bakery earlier in the week to share his experience, told Vann "your customer service was through the roof and you had no idea who I was."

He also hailed her green tea latte and sea salt chocolate chip cookie as the best he's eaten.

To make the moment even sweeter, "GMA" then surprised Vann, presenting her with a $10,000 check from Duncan Hines, leaving her ecstatic.

"Shut up," she said with a huge smile. "Oh my gosh, thank you so much."