The dad bakers of homegrown food chain Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant are a special kind of heroes. They are tough and soft and sweet at the same time, both at home and at work where they whip up the brand’s beloved cakes and pastries daily at the Conti’s commissary.
“Kailangan ko talaga ng trabaho para ma suportahan ko ang pamilya ko, kaya ‘di na ako nag-atubili pa [I need to work to support my family, so I did not hesitate,” said Limwil Galdiano of his humble beginnings in the bakeshop founded 25 years ago by the Conti sisters of Batangas.
“Sabi ko sa sarili ko, sige, kakayanin ko ‘to [I told myself, I can do this],” he added.
Galdiano has been with Conti’s for almost a decade now. Back in 2013, he was already a father to a 6-year-old son and a cook for 10 years. What he did not have was experience at baking.
“Go for change,” he said in retrospect. “Hindi lang po sapat ‘yung nag eexcel ka sa isang bagay. Kelangan din po nating lumabas sa comfort zone natin at mag explore at sumubok ng ibang skills [It’s not enough we excel in one thing. We also have to go out of our comfort zone and try other skills].”
Conti’s gave Galdiano the perfect opportunity to widen his skills and broaden his horizon while helping him make a better living for his family.
Taking on the challenge has paid off. Today, Galdiano said he takes utmost satisfaction and pride with his work as a Conti’s baker because he knows that his talent and skills bring smiles to the faces of strangers.
“Kahit may pressure, kahit pagod, nakakagana pong magtrabaho pag nakikita mong nauubos lahat ng napo-produce namin at pinipilahan po ‘yung stores [Even if there is pressure, even if we are tired, it inspires us to work when we see that what we have produced are sold out and that there are lines in out stores,” he said.
“Nakakaproud po [It makes us proud],” Galdiano added.
Like Galdiano, fellow dad baker Renato Sanorjo had been working in the kitchen of a fast-food chain in Saudi Arabia prior to joining Conti’s.
“Madami talagang pagsubok na pwedeng harapin bilang tatay [There are several challenges that one could face as a father],” Sanorjo said. “Mas mahirap ‘yung kapag hindi mo kapiling ang anak at pamilya mo [But what is more difficult is when you are far away from your kids and family].”
These very same sentiments were shared by Edmond Alcoran, a longtime Conti’s employee who started out as assistant baker and now holds the position of Officer-in-Charge of Production.
“Maraming challenges [There are many challenges] financially, emotionally, and physically,” he said. “So ang pinakamaganda ay kapag sa huli, nalagpasan niyo ang pagsubok sa buhay [What is best is if you are able to hurdle all these challenges in the end].”
One of the biggest challenges that Alcoran had to surmount as a father came early this year when his third child was born prematurely.
“Kakaibang pagsubok ang pinagdaanan ko. Pero dahil na rin sa karanasan ko sa pagiging ama ng unang dalawang anak ko, at ‘yung mga natutunan ko sa trabaho, nakaya namin ng asawa ko ang mga hamon [It was a different kind of challenge. But with my experience as a father and what I’ve learned from work, me and my wife were able to weather these challenges].”
Alcoran said patience and having a clear direction are very important both as a baker and as a father.
“Hindi pwedeng magmadali ka. As a baker kasi, merong standard procedure. Kelangan may patience ka na sundin ‘yun. Ganun din sa pagiging tatay. Kelangan ang mahabang pasensya. Kelangan ang tibay ng loob [You cannot rush things. As a baker, you have a standard procedure to follow. You need to have patience. The same applies to being a father. You need to have patience and a strong resolve].”
To know more about Conti’s Bakeshop & Restaurant, visit their website at http://www.contis.ph or check out their Facebook (@contisph) and Instagram (@contis_ph) pages.