In honor of Filipino Heritage Month, we connected with Coho Powell member Heritage Baking, owned by Martha Naguiat-Ebro. Hailing from the Philippines and now based in Vancouver, Martha infuses her culinary creations with her Filipino heritage, childhood memories, and travel adventures. Read on to learn about Martha's personal journey as a baker, the birth of Heritage Baking with a seamless integration of Filipino flavors, and invaluable advice for aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs in the vibrant food industry.
Martha's Background: An Inspiring Fusion of Cultures
Martha's story encompasses a beautiful blend of Filipino traditions and Canadian influences. Growing up in the Philippines, she developed a deep-rooted passion for culinary arts. Her pursuit of excellence led her to study at the renowned Dubrulle French Culinary School in Vancouver, where she honed her skills in both culinary and pastry arts in 2001. A decade later, Martha and her family brought their talents and dreams to permanently settle in Vancouver.
The Birth of Heritage Baking: Nurturing Passion Amidst Adversity
Martha's culinary journey took an unexpected turn when the global pandemic struck and she was laid off from her position at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Undeterred by these setbacks, Martha stuck with her passion and turned it into a flourishing home-based business. Starting small, she began baking original recipes and showcasing them online. Word quickly spread about her home bakery, propelling her into a new phase of growth. Fueled by this overwhelming demand, Martha made the bold decision to establish Heritage Baking with a dedicated space in a commissary kitchen, giving rise to a larger business fueled by passion, resilience, and community support.
Infusing Filipino Heritage into Irresistible Baked Goods
At the heart of Heritage Baking lies Martha's unwavering commitment to infusing her Filipino heritage into every delightful creation. One of the bakery's most beloved offerings is the ensaimada, a traditional Filipino pastry akin to the French brioche with sweet and savory toppings. Martha's memories of her grandmother painstakingly crafting this delicacy from scratch inspired her to recreate it with reverence and authenticity. Although her grandmother's recipe was lost, Martha embarked on a mission to develop a recipe that evoked the nostalgic flavors of her childhood. Every bite of Heritage Baking's ensaimadas is a testament to her dedication in preserving Filipino culinary heritage.
Another standout creation paying homage to Martha's roots is the Calamansi Cruffin. Calamansi, a cherished fruit in the Philippines, evokes fond memories for Filipinos across generations. By artfully incorporating this beloved citrus fruit into her pastries, Martha creates a sensory experience for her customers that bridges cultures and fosters connection.
Martha's journey is not a solitary one; it is part of a larger movement of Filipino food businesses in Vancouver and its surrounding neighborhoods. Martha takes great pride in witnessing her fellow Filipino entrepreneurs thrive and is delighted to contribute to putting Filipino cuisine on the map, enriching the local culinary landscape with diverse flavors and authentic culinary experiences.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Cultivating Dreams into Reality
For aspiring entrepreneurs with dreams of venturing into the food industry, Martha encourages them to relentlessly pursue their passions, understanding that challenges are an inevitable part of the journey. By staying focused on their visions and embracing obstacles as opportunities for growth, new and aspiring business owners can turn their dreams into reality. Martha advises taking practical steps such as conducting thorough market research, developing a comprehensive business plan, and navigating the necessary paperwork. While the process may take time, the reward of witnessing one's dreams materialize makes the journey worthwhile.
Reflecting on her own journey, Martha warmly recommends Coho Commissary as an ideal platform for small food business owners. Coho Commissary offers a supportive and collaborative environment, providing shared commercial kitchens, state-of-the-art equipment, and valuable resources. By joining Coho, you gain access to a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, fostering growth, knowledge-sharing, and collective success.
As we celebrate Filipino Heritage Month, the story of Martha and Heritage Baking shines as a beacon of culinary determination and cultural celebration. Through her passion, dedication, and the integration of Filipino flavors, Martha has created a truly unique culinary experience that honors her heritage and captivates the palates of Vancouverites. With her inspiring journey and insightful advice, Martha inspires aspiring Filipino entrepreneurs to embark on their own culinary adventures, leaving an indelible mark on the diverse and ever-evolving culinary landscape. Coho Commissary stands ready to support these entrepreneurs on their path to success, nurturing dreams, and fostering the growth of Vancouver's Filipino culinary community.