Meet the Cake Boss.
She was ten years old when Dorothy Ferreria took her first cooking lesson with a neighbor. She went on to study with Sylvia Reynoso Gala, Rory Subida of Maya Kitchens, and then with the late Dexter Rebolledo of Dexter’s Bakeshop. Later, she studied at the Wilton School of Cake Decorating and Confectionery Art in Woodridge, Illinois and at U.F. M. Cooking School in Bangkok.
After graduating with an A.B. Communication Arts degree from Ateneo de Manila, Dorothy worked as a public relations and advertising assistant in a bank. But the culinary arts kept beckoning her.
Finally, she gave in. She became a guest demonstrator for baking and chocolate candy making at the Maya Kitchens. After some time, she opened Dorothy’s Cooking School and has been giving classes on all kinds of sweet and savory dishes that have launched many students’ own paths in the culinary world.
From January 1996 for almost two years, Dorothy was a regular demonstrator for the popular cooking TV show, Lasang Pinoy, atbp. The cooking segments she did with C.B. Garrucho were sponsored by Nestle Phils. for the Carnation Evap and Condensed Milk Portions and San Miguel Food Group for the Anchor Butter, Magnolia Cream Cheese and Quickmelt portions.
In December 2003, she traveled nationwide giving classes in the provinces and reaching a wider audience for the products she endorsed. Various food and food-related companies supported her school.
She wrote the column, Desserts 101/ Kitchen Notes, for Food Magazine. She wrote the bestselling cookbooks, Dorothy’s Cooking School Cookbook Volumes 1 and 2 and From Dorothy’s Kitchen. She also wrote the column, Dorothy Bites, for Appetite Magazine in 1988.
She is one of the two Filipinos to have a cookbook in the online iTunes App Store entitled The Many Ways to Roast a Chicken.
She is also a consultant for several major food companies and operates a home bakeshop making miniature fondant cakes, specialty cakes, and pastries by order.
Dorothy shares her tips for women entrepreneurs:
What considerations would be important for women before going into business?First and foremost, find out what you are most interested in or where your passion lies. If it is something you really like, everything will flow naturally. Inspiration easily sets in because it is focused on something you really like.
In my case, I was working for a bank for two years but got burnt out on my second year. Started tinkering in the kitchen again, left my job and went into serious cooking and baking. It was tiring but it was fun because the kitchen became my playground. I had a lot of ideas and every ingredient I see in the supermarket and grocery gives me more ideas for new recipes.
Aside from ingredients, I drew inspiration from designs of buildings, fabric; how the staircase banister flowed down from the second floor gave me ideas on how to spread icing on a cake so it won’t look stiff. A floral design on a fabric gave me ideas on color combinations for the cakes and pastries.
How they can equip/prepare themselves?
The best way to prepare yourself for business is to know everything you can about the business. If it is a bakeshop you want to put up, you must know how to measure ingredients, the proper procedures for mixing, etc.
Source out suppliers and see where you can buy the best possible ingredients at a reasonable price.
Do not expect anything spectacular using mediocre ingredients. – Dorothy Ferreria
Make samples, let other people try, and ask for their feedback.
Research by checking out what other bakeshops are selling. Observe what customers are buying. Search the net for baking trends. Make your own versions of what customers may want to buy.
Do not be afraid to think out of the box. Experiment, experiment, experiment. Some wonderful recipes are born out of a mistake or an idea. Never be afraid to learn, never stop learning.
When you refuse to learn that is the start of your end. – Dorothy Ferreria
What mistakes to avoid?
Never be afraid to make a mistake but at the same time be reasonably cautious. Being afraid stunts your growth.
Never compare yourself with your competitors. It is okay to see what they have to offer but you must compete with yourself.
Most important lessons you’ve learned?
I always tell my students that Rome was not built in a day. A business does not grow overnight. It takes a lot patience and prayers. Never give up; there is always something new to learn every single day. Sometimes we have concepts in our minds but equally important is staying in tune with the needs of customers. Give customers what they want but also balance it by being a trailblazer; give customers something new from time to time.
What do you look for in staff?
A positive attitude is important. The skill is easy to teach when the attitude is correct.
What inspires you to do what you do?
The feedback of customers is my fuel. When customers are happy I am inspired to do my best. If customers are happy, it gives me a sense of fulfillment, a sense of purpose.
What are your success secrets?
Success does not always equate to money. In my case seeing my students put up their own bakeshops is already a feather in my cap. Seeing that the recipes I formulated were not created to satisfy my ego but were created to be useful to people who cook and bake.