We grew up in a clan where food is the main means of livelihood. Each family has their own specialties. One aunt specialized in candied cucumber (kundol), another aunt specialized in pastillas, another aunt specialized in bibingka (sticky sweet rice), my mom's mami (noodle soup) and siopao (steamed meat bun) started as a small restaurant but grew to be a famous town restaurant in Bulacan, Philippines. My sisters are wonderful cooks and bake all occasion cakes. My brothers bake ensaymada and pandesal.
We have a keen sense of smell and are blessed with wonderful taste buds. Even at a young age, Michael showed signs of becoming a wonderful chef when he preferred to stay helping in the kitchen than watching cartoons. He soon learned to feel for the elasticity of a dough as he played.
We migrated to Michigan in the early eighties. In 1998 we subleased a small pizza place whose operation was only in the evening. We started baking pandesal for the local Filipino community in metro Detroit in Michigan. We added different varieties of breads such as spanish bread, baliwag pandesal and pandesal putok. Our ensaymada with icing and grated cheese became popular. We out-grew that pizza place and moved to our own shop in Madison Heights and named it Sampaguita Bakery. Our customers would come after work in the afternoon just to time the hot pandesal coming out of the oven. Some could not wait to get home and eat almost half of their purchase at the shop.
When the economy went downhill, it was a very tough time. We needed to change our business strategy. We went on an educational leave. Tito completed his intensive baking training at the American Institute of Baking (AIB) in Kansas, and Michael completed his culinary arts degree at Schoolcraft College, Michigan in 2009.
This new decade of 2010 is a good time to emerge from hibernation. We are again back in the kitchen ready to serve our customers with the best breads and pastries they know us for. We are expanding our offerings. So prepare your coffee, tea, hot coco or milk because our breads, pastries and cakes will satisfy your cravings.
Tito and Michael