While browsing her YouTube explore page, Kelly Liu found herself clicking on a recipe tutorial for baking cream puffs. Inspired by the videos, Liu decided to try the recipe in her kitchen, marking the start of her baking career. Although baking started out as a hobby, the monumental decision to click on the YouTube video inspired the opening of her bakery two years later, Oh honey bakery, located in Mountain View, California.
âI started cooking in 2019 and learned through YouTube videos and cookbooks. I opened Oh Honey Bakery in September 2021, where we mainly sell macaroons and cream puffs, âLiu said.
Prior to the opening of Oh Honey Bakery, Liu previously owned a bubble tea store in Cupertino. However, she discovered that she had minimal interest in the industry.
âI had another business in Cupertino before, a boba store, and we mainly sold bubble tea and chicken popcorn. But then I found out that I really enjoyed baking as a hobby, and realized that it could eventually turn into a business. I focused more on improving my recipe and finally made the decision to open a bakery, âLiu said.
Liu opened the bakery with the aim of exposing customers to various types of traditional Asian flavors. She achieves this by using flavors as inspiration for her baked goods, such as sesame, matcha and even pork wire.
I discovered that I really enjoyed baking as a hobby and realized that it could eventually turn into a business. I focused more on improving my recipe and finally made the decision to open a bakery â
– Kelly Liu
âMy intention in opening Oh Honey Bakery was to have customers here try more Asian flavored desserts, such as pork bristle, sea salt cream or black sesame, all of which are traditional Asian flavors. My products also focus more on Asian-style desserts, like buttercream macaroon or cream puffs, âLiu said.
Liu being the owner and only employee of Oh Honey Bakery, her day usually starts before sunrise to prepare the day’s produce. Once the bakery opened at 10:30 a.m., she then moved on to managing the storefront and the cash register.
âDuring the week, I come around 5:30 am (in the morning) to start preparing and cooking all this. On the weekends we’re busier, so I sometimes come around at 4:30 or 4:00 in the morning to prepare this stuff. This way, I don’t have to worry about running out of items throughout the day and can handle the cash register, âLiu said.
Likewise, Jessica Milanes’ passion and interest in baking led her to pursue a career in the baking industry. Milanes is currently the pastry chef of Simple delicacies, located in San Mateo, California.
Simple Delights has been serving ice cream and frozen yogurt to the community of San Mateo for 20 years. In October 2019, the current owners bought the business. Shortly after, in March 2020, Milanes joined the team, adding additional baked goods to the menu.
Milanes enjoyed cooking as a hobby in his kitchen from a young age. However, his ultimate inspiration for pursuing a career in the industry was his first job after college.
âI have always liked to cook and bake. In college, I studied hotel restaurant management and my goal was to always attend a cooking school for baking and cooking. In 2018, I worked at Pumps in their office, so I learned a lot about small business. I then decided to go to cooking school and had a passion for baking, âsaid Milanes.
According to Milanes, his initial plan to use his cooking degree was not to decorate cakes. Nonetheless, when opportunities arose that allowed him to express his passions, his plans changed. In addition to working at Simple Delights, Milanes has gained substantial experience in other aspects of the food industry, such as styling, consulting and writing his own cookbook.
âTo be honest, I remember thinking that I would never decorate cakes, but obviously things change, and I’m glad I did. I also have a lot of other jobs actually in the food industry. I’m currently also self-employed, and I’ve done styling and consulting, and it’s also a lot of fun. What I find interesting is that every job in the baking industry always gives me a different experience, âsaid Milanes.
Milanes and Liu turning their interest into a lasting career is a goal that many strive to achieve. Nicholas Voong, senior at Carlmont, believes that apparent passion is essential in creating products.
âWhen someone is passionate about their work, it shows in the things they create. The care and effort found in these products is unbeatable and can only be achieved when they enjoy the creative process, âVoong said.
In 2018 I worked at TPumps in their office so I learned a lot about small business. I then decided to go to cooking school afterwards, and I had a passion for baking â
Ultimately, Voong believes small businesses typically exemplify this trait. Their products are also made with more care, which translates into customer satisfaction. For Voong in particular, that’s why he comes back regularly to his own neighborhood bakery.
âI think local bakeries generally have a more home-made vibe in their products. Everything is fresher and better at the local bakeries, and you simultaneously support a small business. There is definitely more care and effort that goes into every product, âVoong said.