Newton’s own cake boss: Tojo Bakery
Family, delicious food and more than nine years of experience all create the perfect recipe for Tojo Bakery’s success.
Barbara Tojo and her husband, George Tojo, set up shop in 2002 as a family-run bakery after originally moving to the U.S. from Cuba.
“We moved from Cuba to Miami, Florida, and lived there for three years and worked in a bakery,” Barbara said. “Then we had a friend tell us to move here (North Carolina) and we worked in a factory for a couple of years.”
While the Tojos found the job at the factory as good experience, they wanted to return to working in a bakery.
“I liked the idea of this type of business (baking) because it’s so pretty and because you can do different things,” Barbara said. “So you’re never bored, and you always get to do something different.”
True to her word, Barbara isn’t bored not only because she does something different almost every day, but because she doesn’t have time to be bored. With a high demand to bake a variety of pastries, breads and cakes all based off of traditional recipes, there is hardly time to breathe.
“When I come in, I go to work,” Barbara said. “This kind of business, you don’t have time to sit. When I go home I sit, but not in here.”
Working side-by-side, Barbara and George create traditional Mexican and Cuban recipes, which sometimes includes ingredients she thinks taste better and create a different taste from other bakers.
“Everything is traditional (recipes) from Mexico, but some are from Cuba,” George said.
The Tojos create pastries such as conchas, doughnuts and cookies; and one of their most popular cakes is their tres leches. Finally, their Cuban bread is made fresh daily.
With tradition in mind, some Mexican parties traditionally cater to About 400 people, which means Barbara has to make enough cake for everyone. For her, it’s a piece of cake.
“Some people think it’s hard, but it’s not,” Barbara said. “It takes us about two hours to make a (large) cake. We work really fast.”
Even while creating large, ornate cakes and a plethora of treats, Barbara doesn’t let the quality of her food diminish. She meticulously examines her food every day with a high standard of quality.
“Quality is the hardest part of my job,” Barbara said. “If I can’t eat it, I can’t put it out. I have to be here every day to check the bread (and other pastries).”
Making cakes meet customers’ desires is also part of offering the best quality, no matter what they ask for, Barbara said. She once made a cake for a customer three times in order to get it the way the customer asked for.
“Whatever the customer wants, I do,” Barbara said. “It’s one of my goals.”
When the bakery first opened, Tojo Bakery didn’t even offer cakes, only pastries and bread. After many requests, Barbara taught herself how to frost and decorate special event cakes.
Barbara works from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day catering to every customer, inspecting every pastry and bread and making sure she meets the need of her customers. At the end of the day, Barbara loves what she does and looks forward to the next day.
“I like everything (about my job),” Barbara said. “When I wake up in the morning, I wake up with a smile. I love what I do.”
Tojo Bakery is located at 1901 Northwest Blvd., Suite L in Newton. For more information call (828) 464-1901.