Through my adventures in this wedding industry and bakery business I have been very fortunate to meet some really great people and wonderful talent. Last Monday was no exception. I met Huascar Aquino via Facebook. He was a fan of Ron’s work as well as one of the students at the French culinary Institute in 2008. Out of the 14 people in his class at the FCI, he’s the only one doing something in the baking world.
Huascar has had an interesting journey getting to open his bakery. After graduating from the FCI, he landed a job working at the newly opened Landmarc restaurant in Columbus Circle in NYC. While at Landmarc, he was not hired to work in the baking department, but rather in the kitchen. All of that changed on his first day of work, when one of the baking staff quit, Huascar was quickly moved over to the pastry kitchen. He stayed at Landmarc for about a year and then moved onto the Corner bakery. While there he was offered a job at the Essex House where Huascar honed his skills for the next 6 years working in their pastry department.
While at the Essex House, he was approached to be on the Food Network’s reality competition show, Cupcake Wars. He has been the only New York baker to ever win the show. Capitalizing on his win, he approached the Hudson Eatery on 11th Avenue and 57th Street about a little corner of the restaurant that they were using for storage. The restaurant agreed to rental. After meeting with the owners of the restaurant, things happened very quickly. Working with a non-profit organization through the city of New York, he had a business plan within a month. Part of the agreement was kitchen space downstairs that needed to have plumbing and electrical equipment fitted for the space. Let’s just say that this is New York City and that in these tasks are never easy. After putting a business plan together in a month and a half along with retrofitting a kitchen, he was able to open his bakery in September 2013. (That’s right – he has only been open almost two months!)
He quickly learned that being a baker and a small business owner is not a very easy task. It’s not just about baking anymore; there are taxes, Workmen’s Compensation, insurance, rent, marketing, branding,employees, customer service and about thousand other little things. But this man took it in stride and for their first month open – they have exceeded their first month goals in their business plan.
It takes confidence and courage to open a small business in New York City. I commend Huascar for putting out a quality product in the neighborhood who had no local bakery to go to. Please visit H cake bakeshop, a smile greets you at the door and there are plenty of yummy treats to fill your tummy.