News / Food

Profile: Hot Bread Kitchen’s Mujerotas

It’s a fact: old school is sexy and delicious. And there’s nothing yummier than old-school baked goods. You know the kind: sweets that make you salivate and take you back to the days of sitting on the kitchen floor watching abuela swirling sugar on the pan, prepping for the perfect flan.

The only thing better than those old-school baked goods are old-school baked goods whipped up by irreverent, kick-ass Latinas. This is precisely what Diana Delatorre and Sandra Hernandez are doing with the help of Hot Bread Kitchen, in El Barrio’s iconic La Marqueta.

For the past three years, Hot Bread Kitchen has been preparing immigrant and minority women to launch thriving food businesses and represent in jobs within the food industry. Earlier this year, HBK started the business incubator program at La Marqueta to help start-up food businesses succeed. Cue in Diana Delatorre, The Naughty Housewife, and Sandra Hernandez, the flan diva behind HerFlan. I had a chance to spend a day baking with Diana and chat with Sandra, sharing kitchen war stories and talking shop.

______________________________________________________________

LAS MUJEROTAS DE LA MARQUETA

I. Diana Delatorre: One Naughty Cookie



Ovalzoom4Where do you live?

En el Barrio, of course, with my husband and son.

How did you go from working in movies to becoming The Naughty Housewife?

I was always naughty but never a housewife. I actually didn’t expect to become a housewife. I worked in the film industry and loved to bake. My former boss likes to remind me that I was always baking goodies for the film crew. I was doing this when I got pregnant with my boy (he is a revolutionary soul). Life handed me some lemons, and I simply baked biscotti with them. Literally, that’s how it got started. I got an order to bake biscottis and the rest is history. Life as an accidental homebaker is much sweeter than I ever imagined.

Who do you bake for?

I bake for the renegade soul who best communicates her or his love through food. I bake for the off-the-beaten-path housewife, juggling her devotion to her family with copious amounts of me time.

What makes your baked goods special?

Have you seen them? I sell naughty gingerpeople and booty cookies. I bake sassy, sensual morsels. Always made organic and always appealing to the senses.

______________________________________________________

LIFE AS AN ACCIDENTAL HOMEBAKER IS MUCH
SWEETER THAN I EVER IMAGINED.

______________________________________________________

Do people have a favorite?

The Dulce de Leche Lace Cookie gets around. The Nutella biscotti and brownies also get a lot of play.

What is your business vision?

My guiding philosophy is simple: I want clients to achieve an eye-rolling, guttural-moaning-style mouthgasm with every bite of my tasty treats. So, I pay a lot of attention to quality of ingredients and bake with much TLC. And I stamp everything with my sense of humor whenever possible.

Ovalzoom3Favorite spots in El Barrio?

I have serious love for Piatto d’Oro and Fonda Boricua.

La Marqueta was a neighborhood staple and you are fast becoming a neighborhood staple as well, tell me a bit about working at La Marqueta, finding yourself making history as one of its vendors?

That is the one main reason why I love working with HBK in La Marqueta. I have learned so much about Latino culture, about El Barrio being there. It’s incredible to walk into the kitchen and see women making masa, and talk to some of the other businesswomen. Just the other day I traded some intel on tres leche with Daisy, another awesome Latina in the incubator who owns Daisita Bakery with her husband Elvis. It feels great to be part of this moment, of revitalizing La Marqueta and the neighborhood.

Who are some of your other favorite vendors at La Marqueta? What can we look for next time we go?

In terms of La Marqueta’s vendors, my heart belongs to the Greeks—Dimitri Gatanas and his beautiful family are a treasure with their ever-expanding Urban Garden Center, and Tika Fotoglidi of SpaHa Cafe has been a great friend, customer, and mentor as I try to make my name in this tough cookie business.

What’s next for the business?

Selling my Latina butt off. Growing the client list. We’ve had some pretty exceptional clients like Po, Meredith, and SpaHa Café. I want to add to them because they are key to my plan of world conquest. At some point my dream is to have a Latina-owned empire and employ strong, equally naughty women, subsidize childcare for my team, and contribute a portion of sales to charitable causes, helping to make a difference.

______________________________________________________________

II. Sandra Hernandez: HerFlan is your flan



chefWhere do you live?

I was born and raised in El Barrio, and now I live in Harlem.

How did you go from costume designing for the likes of Spike Lee to flan-making diva?

It became my side hustle in between films. I was at a cousin’s party down in Boston (these kinds of things always start with a family story!), and I had some of her flan. It was like nothing I had tasted before. She was gracious enough to show me the recipe, and I tinkered with it to make it my own. I took my flans to a party once in 2003 and people went berserk. I didn’t really expect the reaction, but it was great. I haven’t stopped selling since then.

What is the story behind HerFlan?

It’s a play on my last name Hernandez and on the flans themselves: made by a woman, owned by a woman.

What makes your flans special?

I use organic ingredients. My flans are about 80% organic. When you taste them, they are “non-eggy,” which makes them extra tasty. I hate those eggy flans. Oh, and I am not your traditional flan lady. I love to experiment with new flavors.

What is the most popular flavor?

Vanilla, but people seem to really love the alcohol ones, too. Tequila and rum are pretty addictive. It wasn’t hard to see that one coming.

______________________________________________________

I AM NOT YOUR TRADITIONAL FLAN LADY. I LOVE TO EXPERIMENT WITH NEW FLAVORS.

______________________________________________________

What is your business vision?

Gourmet flans that are tradition inspired but with much attitude. I want flans to be a year-round thing, not just for the holidays. Why do we have to wait for las chrismas or special occasions to pamper our taste buds? Most people love flans. I want my clients to be decadent all year long and indulge themselves. Why not?

flanFavorite spots in El Barrio?

Camaradas & Ricardo’s Steakhouse.

La Marqueta was a neighborhood staple and you are fast becoming a neighborhood staple as well, tell me a bit about working at La Marqueta, finding yourself making history as one of its vendors?

How cool is that! I feel honored and proud to be a part of La Marqueta. I get to have this opportunity to feel a part of this historical institution that was and still is so integral to the Latino community.

Bananas or plantains?

Maduros.

Who are some of your other favorite vendors at La Marqueta? What can we look for next time we go?

Let’s support Jose’s Meat Market and Viva Produce.

What’s next for the business?

Marketing, marketing y mucho más marketing…lmPRao.

______________________________________________________________

n100408749898_2594964_5569294

For more information about The Naughty Housewife visit their site. Contact HerFlan at herflan2011@gmail.com.