My face instantly lit up on Tuesday night when I saw that openly gay baker (and my good friend) Huascar Aquino was competing on the legendary food competition show Chopped.
Huascar's story is really one that is embedded in the American dream. I first got to know him three years ago after I reviewed a similar location in New York City (for a separate publication) and a mutual friend of ours recommended that I try his place as well. At the time it was called H Bake Shop (that spot has since closed and is now Huascar & Co. Bake Shop). So I took a friend to see what the fuss was about, and suffice to say, I left with the happiest smile on my face as what Huascar was able to create for us was truly unlike anything I have had before.
Born in the Dominican Republic, he moved to the United States a number of years ago where he developed a love for pastries by learning at the Internationally renowned French Culinary Institute Of New York City. Just a heads up this is the same place that LEGENDS in the culinary industry such as Bobby Flay, David Chang & Dan Barber have gone to and where deans include just the run of the mill dynasties in their own rights like Jacques Pepin, Jose Andrews and Jacques Torres are deans there. You know, no big deal whatsoever.
After his time at the FCI, he honed his abundance of talent at historic NYC locations like The Four Seasons and Landmarc, which then led to him opening up his own location a couple of years ago. Oh, and one more thing. Huascar won on the Food Network hit show Cupcake Wars back in 2013, in which the theme was for Jessica Alba’s brand The Honest Company. The win came with a sweet $10,000 dollar prize and national recognition, which is great for anyone regardless of what their field is. You can watch that episode here.
He officially opened up his second location, Huascar & Co. Bake Shop in early 2017, which has earned him a ton of fanfare and praise from food critics and people alike. His location has earned 4.5 stars on both Yelp and Facebook and with good reason. HIs sweets that he creates are out of this world amazing. If you are ever in New York City, please try his PB & J and Scarlet Velvet Cupcakes. It tastes better than a hot dude, no joke.
Huascar competed on Tuesday night's Chopped, where Martha Stewart was the judge for this round (she's appearing on the newest season of the long-running cooking competition program). It didn't surprise me that he made it all the way to the final round and impressed the three judges along the way because he is just that good. Sadly, he lost in a very tight battle, but I know what an amazing baker and chef he is and he should be proud that he got that far, not just on the show… but in life.
For more information on Huascar and his location, click here.