Meet Khatera Shams
Lead barista and baker at Sunshine Spice Cafe
Khatera's journey is one of remarkable determination and achievement. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, she faced the hardships of war, spending her early years in Iran and Turkey before her family immigrated to the United States in 2003. At the age of sixteen, she embarked on a new chapter, arriving in a country where she didn't know how to read, write, or speak English. Despite these challenges, Khatera's drive was unyielding. Graduating from Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho, in 2007, she pursued a brighter future by enrolling at Milan Institute in July of the same year. Her goal was to earn a degree in the medical assistant program for improved job prospects. However, even with her medical assistant certificate in hand by April 2008, language barriers hindered her from working in her chosen field. Khatera's childhood dream of becoming a police officer persisted, leading her to Boise State University in 2016, where she pursued higher education in the criminal justice program. Her journey took a pivotal turn when her policing instructor recommended the Citizen Police Academy to gauge her commitment to law enforcement. Completing the program, Khatera gained insights into the challenges faced by non-native English speakers in the field. Her dedication earned her a certificate from the Citizen Police Academy at the Boise Police Department. In 2019, Khatera embarked on a new adventure, joining forces with her three sisters as a co-owner of the Sunshine Spice Bakery & Cafe. As the Kitchen Manager, she brings her passion to life by baking a variety of pastries and serving as the Head Barista. Her commitment to her craft and the culinary world was recognized when she became a semifinalist in the Outstanding Baker category at the James Beard Foundation Awards in 2022. Khatera's journey encapsulates the triumph of resilience and determination, from her early days in Afghanistan to her success as a co-owner and culinary artist. Her story is a testament to the power of pursuing dreams despite adversity.