Spotlight On…. Gabriel Mullokandov
Business Name: Bon Apetito Bakery
Location: 2956 Flatbush Avenue
Number of Employees: 8-10
Years in Business: 41
1. Can you tell us a little about your business history?
Our wholesale business was established in 1976. My family bought this business in 1989 after coming to the U.S. from Israel in 1985. We were searching to buy a business and ended up buying a bakery.
2. Please tell us about your history as a baker.
We were very young and ambitious; we had our minds focused on learning the art of baking and starting our own business. When my brother and I were growing up, our father was in the food business, and we wanted to follow in his footsteps and start our own cookie business.
3. What challenges did you face while starting a bakery?
Our biggest challenge when we first started our bakery was finding new customers. We first started out as a wholesale company back in 1989, and it was a big challenge for us to distribute our products to big market companies. We were very persistent in trying to sell our cookies in many locations. We spent lots of time making phone calls to big companies and eventually landed our cookies in stores such as BJ’s, Associated Supermarkets, and Key Food.
4. What is the most popular baked good in your store?
Our strudel and tiramisu cakes are our favorites. Our strudel contains walnuts, cranberries, and apples wrapped in a crusty cookie dough topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Our tiramisu is made from sponge cake and is lightly soaked in a rum-flavored syrup topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with cocoa powder.
5. What kinds of ingredients do you use?
There are many ingredients that we use. We always make sure to use the highest quality of ingredients as possible, and that applies to everything even the basics like flour, eggs, and fresh fruits, to fillings, chocolate, and whipped cream.
6. What’s the secret to a good kokosh cake?
The secret to a great kokosh cake is using liquid chocolate. You will notice that in a good kokosh cake when you cut it, the chocolate oozes out. We use a special liquid chocolate, never a powder.
7. What is a typical day like for you as a baker?
The pace is very fast in the bakery, and you must be on top of everyone. We must stay alert at all times to make sure our products are coming out perfectly, and everyone is working in unison effectively.
8. What are a few unique items on your menu?
We have a variety of bourekas, including vegetable, spinach, pizza, and potato.
9. How do you hope to see your bakery grow within the next year?
I hope with G-d’s help that we can be successful and earn half a million dollars this year with all the hard work we are putting into the business. I would love to predict probably a million dollars for the next year.
10. What is your favorite baked concoction?
That is a hard question to answer, but if I had to choose one, I guess it would be apple turnovers. I like the texture of the flaky dough with the contrast in taste of the tartness of the apple and the sweetness of cinnamon.
11. What do you love most about your job?
What I love the most is always creating something new. I love making new types of cakes and incorporating many different flavors in my creations to attract many new customers to explore something new.
12. Do you have any advice for aspiring bakers?
For all those upcoming bakers, when you bake something, you should always bake with your heart and be passionate about your creations. If you don’t follow this advice, it will show in the food.