Behind the Sweets - SunStar

Behind the Sweets

Marymil M. Cabrera
SunStar Writer

IT’S no secret that desserts are an instant mood-booster, with their taste, texture and aroma that take us back to happier times. But have you ever wondered who the geniuses are behind the sinful sweets that we love to indulge in? Let’s get to know the masterminds who came up with our favorite treats and pastry shops and their stories of sweet success.

Marisse Alvarez-Sy of Marisse Patisserie

Coming from a family of hoteliers and restaurateurs, it’s only natural for Marisse Alvarez-Sy to love cooking, baking and food in general, as she has been exposed to these things since she was little. But according to her, it was her mom who inspired her to be a good cook, baker and homemaker. She can fondly remember her first baking memory of that one afternoon with her mom when they created delicious apple dumplings.

But before offering her heavenly delights to the public at her dainty pastry shop nestled inside 32 Sanson in Lahug, Marisse used to bake only for her family. They then encouraged her to share her talent with every Cebuano. “I also wanted to provide unique desserts that bring good memories,” she added.

Now with Marisse Patisserie as her venue for bringing her vision of “baking memories” to life, Marisse continues to create delicious confections just like her Mango Pistachio Cake that will remind you of Cebu (because of the local mangoes) but with an innovative touch.

Cathy Po of Dessert Studio and Restohaus

Have you seen (and tasted) those realistic durian and avocado cakes? If yes, then you’re probably familiar with Dessert Studio and Restohaus in Mabolo. It all started when Cathy dreamed up a recipe for a durian cake in 2017. Though she’s not a fan of the “King of Fruits,” she still followed the recipe that she had in mind, to surprise her husband who loves durian.

After a friend of hers – one of the few people who tried the first ever durian cake she baked – posted a photo of her creation online, it went viral. People were amazed with how the moist and dense cake looks exactly like the fruit, with frosting formed as a durian’s husk with stout spines, peduncle and cream-colored pulp.

More people started ordering and Cathy got inspired to formulate more fruit cakes like jackfruit, guyabano and kiwi, to name a few.

Daryll Ian Sayson of Cafe Dessart

“I’ve always have been fascinated with the molecular and chemical compositions of our surroundings. My young mind couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s possibly why I aspired to become a scientist. Although I fell short of that dream, I started to divert my attention to food; and that’s how I found my way to desserts. As a chef, it feels like I’m achieving my prior dream as I get to combine ingredients and let science do its wonder,” shared Daryll Ian, a young chef slash entrepreneur and owner of Cafe Dessart, on how he ended up creating inventive and luscious desserts.

Daryll, together with his team members, continues to surprise customers with fun, unique, creative and of course, yummy offerings which are inspired by Filipino delicacies and local products. Cafe Dessart’s reimagined Ensaymada, Sylvanas, Cassava Cake in tart shape, Signature Otap and Chic-ky Naked Cakes are all Filipino merienda staples enhanced and made better with the goal of supporting local products and showcasing the many possibilities our own delicacies have to offer.

Nicole Alectis Villo Escobido of Chocolate Cakes by Nicole

When the chocolate dream cake (a fudgy, gooey cake with multiple chocolatey layers) craze hit Cebu, Chocolate Cakes by Nicole was one of the first ones to offer it.

Nicole’s great grandfather Faustino Lao Villo, the man behind the homegrown Lolo Tinong’s Bakery, was one of the pioneers of the bakery business in Cebu. Though she grew up in a family of bakers, she got interested in baking pastries only recently when she joined a workshop. After awakening her love for baking, Nicole started to make chocolate cakes which Cebuanos dearly love.

If her great grandfather left a legacy in baking products that are “Once tasted, always wanted,” Nicole wants to “Bake the world a happier place, one chocolate cake at a time.”

Sarrita “Saree” Pimentel of Café Saree and Sweet Little Things

Saree started baking when she was seven years old and sold her first blueberry butter cake at the age of 10. Her love for cupcakes and cookies and watching her mother do her magic in the kitchen growing up, encouraged her to learn cooking and baking though it already runs in their blood. That is why she’s best known to her circle of friends as the foodie.

Best of Cebu’s Best Breakfast Joint Café Saree and Sweet Little Things were the results of Saree’s dedication, hard work, talent and skills and love for food.

With so many delightful and beautifully made confections she’s offering at her restaurant and pastry shop, it’s hard to choose a favorite but Cafe Saree’s Cheesy Pancake Bomb with Bacon is literally the bomb and so is Sweet Little Thing’s Unicorn Cakelet.

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