Photo by Gian Nicdao
It feels like forever ago when people waited in line for their turn to try the latest innovation in baked goods. It was inevitable that these physical lines would eventually turn digital: a new generation of independent bakers have begun dealing their sugary goods, not from behind a counter but through DMs on Instagram and Twitter. Rather than brick and mortar stores, bakers make use of social media and pop-up collaborations with other bakeries and coffee shops. One such pair is that of Blocleaf Cafe and Chino Cruz of Baker on East.
Last week, we caught up with Chino, ahead of his pop-up opening at Blocleaf Cafe in Malate. When asked about his start in baking, he explains that he’s always been obsessed with food. “It’s sort of this running joke in my family that I grew up mimicking people like Sandy Daza on TV as opposed to something like a ninja turtle.” A quick look through his Instagram reveals mouth-watering photographs of his creations from banoffee shortbread to salt and chocolate cookies. But the star of his upcoming pop-up? Donuts. We talked about his brother’s love for donuts and his interesting choice of donut fillings.
YOUNG STAR: Is there any particular reason you chose donuts as opposed to cupcakes, for example, for this collection?
CHINO CRUZ: My brother (who works with me part-time at Baker on East) loves donuts and I wanted to make something as a sign of my appreciation. I only realized that donuts were a thing when I started sharing them with people. I tend to send out my excess test batches to online friends, but it was with the donuts that random strangers started tweeting me to send them to their houses. I’d been working on running a bakery for ages and all it took to get people frothing at the mouth was donuts, apparently.