From hobby to commissary

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Friday, January 11, 2013

SHARON Lee Lopez is the shy wonder baker behind Crema, a small, pastry stall located in Parkmall. She comes from Sorsogon; marriage to salesman Paul Lopez eventually brought her to Cebu in 1987, where three of their four children were born.

BAKING for her, was a pastime, something she always wanted to do even as a child when she liked to read cake recipes. She did not take up culinary arts, though, taking instead some other courses she never got to finish because her father’s work took the family to various places. It was in Davao that she met and married Paul.

In 1990, she started to bake at home, occasionally delivering her cakes to schools.


One day, a neighbor from Sun.Star Cebu saw her and asked her to try delivering her products to Sun.Star. That delivery to this paper started her on baking regularly, on a daily basis. When the family transferred to their own home in Talamban, she thought she would stop baking as Sun Star was too far away from her new home.

Deciding to use her last batch of unused flour, she baked some pies and asked her husband, who had a seafood business, to try selling the pies. The pies sold faster than the seafood! So she baked again, trying new recipes, occasionally taking short courses on baking when the course offering, usually at Caro and Marie, interested her.

She also experimented and developed her own recipes for her clients. Finally in 2010, she decided to open shop as Crema, at first in the Capitol area but she moved to Parkmall last July when the place she rented was being renovated.

Some of her products come from family recipes like the banana cake, the ensaymada and the chicken pie, which are best sellers. The ensaymada is super soft and comes either with cheese, with ube or with dulce de leche. She is very particular about taste and texture and has come up with a mango torte with a crusty meringue-cashew base: combined with cream and mango balls, it really is a taste experience. Her cassava cake is absolutely tender and creamy and delicious. She has a lot of cakes in her menu like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, chocolate moist cake and mocha praline cake, which has cashew praline in it. For pastries she has mango cream pie, empanaditas and frozen cashew sylvannas.

She also has chocolate cupcakes, butterscotch bars and marble cheese cake brownies plus buns for snacks, either tuna, adobo or cheese pimiento.         

Sharon’s bake and pastry shop has been doing so well she had to move her hobby out of her house and now has a commissary for the business. She feels the pressure to come up with new recipes, to take care of the nitty-gritty of running a bakeshop as she is the only one doing it right now.

Despite all that stress, she remains very calm and collected and unassuming, and looks very youthful for her age.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 12, 2013.


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