Family is the best ingredient in starting a new bakery.
Without it, there is no home, and for Teresa Ho and her new bakery Charmaine’s Sweets, at Brentcliffe and Vanderhoof, it was what helped her new endeavour rise.
Teresa Ho sits in the front entrance of her two-month-old bakery with daughter Charmaine Kuruc — the shop’s namesake — as the two share their dreams.
Charmaine’s Sweets was originally based out of Ho’s Leslie and York Mills basement, but husband Ken Ho helped hunt down a perfect building in Leaside to renovate. That happened to be the Children’s Music Room at 115 Vanderhoof Ave.
A soft opening was held Dec. 1 with family and friends.
Now, a small kitchen is set up in the back, and the extra space is being converted into a bread bakery, thanks to the arrival of Charmaine and her husband Dustin — both highly skilled bakers who trained under Toronto chef, Marc Thuet.
“In the beginning I thought it was going to be cookies and online orders, cakes, and at that time Charmaine wasn’t thinking of joining me,” Ho admits.
But with a recent wedding, and a shift from working at the downtown establishment, Carbon Bar, Kuruc came home to work with mom.
“We saw the community and we saw the place and I thought, ‘Mom, this is amazing. What have you done with the place?’” Kuruc said.
Ho’s other daughter, Sonya, helped to set up the website with fiancé Ray, as well as spearhead the marketing campaign. Former Harlequin Romance artist, Bernadette Lau, Ho’s sister, is providing the artwork on the shop.
Kuruc admitted she followed in her father’s footsteps at first, working in real estate, but she caught the baking bug when getting a job with Epi Breads in Leaside. From there it led to Petite Thuet (where she met future husband Dustin).
“At that place, I was learning the macaron from Chef Thuet,” 37-year-old said.
But the big thrill for Ho, she said, is to be able to do her teaching outside of her basement.
Charmaine’s Sweets offers baking courses twice a week, and they are hoping to offer corporate team building events as well as host parties.
“That’s my dream — to have women come in, bond,” Ho said. “It’s more like a friendly, building relationships. It’s more of a party and sharing and hands-on experience.
“I like everyone to get involved.”
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