Donuts with halu-halo, ube, leche flan, champorado flavors, pinagkakaguluhan sa New York

by Bernie V. Franco
Jan 5, 2022
kora donuts
This Filipino-American chef's discovery of her late lola's recipe book has led her to her successful donut shop in New York City. Kimberly Camara's pastry shop is patronized by a huge clientele for its Pinoy-merienda-flavored donuts—ube, leche flan, halo-halo, pandan, and champorado.
PHOTO/S: @kimberlymmendoza on Instagram

Libo-libong kababayan at foreigners sa New York, U.S.A. ang tumatangkilik ng Filipino-flavored doughnuts ng Fil-Am chef na si Kimberly Camara.

Tinawag ni Kimberly ang kanyang doughnut shop na Kora, bilang pagpupugay sa kanyang yumaong Pilipinang lola.

Ang star ng itinayong pastry shop ni Kimberly ay Pinoy-merienda-inspired doughnuts, gaya ng leche flan, ube, halo-halo, buko pandan, tsampurado, at kamote cue.

Ani Kimberly sa isang recent feature, umabot na sa 10,000 people ang nasa wait list ng kanyang doughnut shop sa Queens, New York City.

Dahil sa dami, hindi lahat ay nakakapag-place ng order.

Sa previous interviews, sinabi ng customers na sa dami ng parokyano, maraming oras ang hinihintay nila sa pila para makabili at matikman ang doughnuts.

Ang iba, nakaabang sa online at makailang ulit ang attempts bago tuluyang makapag-place ng order.

Maraming beses nang na-feature ang business ni Kimberly sa mga shows at publications, gaya ng Food Insider, New York Times, Eater, at Balitang Amerika.

Continue reading below ↓

Malayo na ang narating ng Kora doughnut shop kahit sinimulan lamang ito nitong pandemic.

Alam niyo bang nagsimula ang lahat sa recipe notebook ng lola ni Kimberly na si Corazon “Kora” Mendoza?

Pumanaw si Kora noong January 2, 2020.

Matapos niyon ay natagpuan ni Kimberly ang notebook ng kanyang lola.

kora donuts

Continue reading below ↓

THE START OF KORA

Bunsod ng pandemya, natanggal sa catering job si Kimberly, na isang trained chef mula sa Culinary Institute of America.

Isang kaibigan ang nagpagawa sa kanya ng cake, at hinaluan ito ni Kimberly ng recipe ng kanyang lola.

Nang magustuhan ang cake, doon na nagkaroon ng ideya si Kimberly na magtayo ng pastry business.

Kasama ni Kimberly ang boyfriend niyang si Kevin Borja nang itayo ang pastry shop noong 2020.

Meron na sila ngayong pop-up shop sa Queens, kung saan pini-pick up ang orders.

Ayon kay Kevin sa interview niya sa YouTube channel na Eater nitong December 29, 2021, lahat ngayon ng kanilang orders ay pre-ordered at bayad na dahil sa laki ng demand..

Sabi niya, “I think one of the biggest challenges with running a business with this pre-order model, is that everything is already paid for. You’re kind of on the hook for it.”

Isa sa best-sellers nila ay ang leche flan doughnuts, kung saan ipinapalaman ang leche flan sa doughnuts.

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Sabi ni Kimberly sa Eater, “The leche flan recipe is from my grandmother’s recipe book that I found after she passed away.

“Filipino flan is different from maybe the flans you’ve had in Spain or in other Latin American countries, because it’s got a lot of egg yolks.”

kora donuts

Continue reading below ↓

Flan donuts from Kora

Isa pang patok sa kanila ay ang ube doughnuts. At simula't simula pa lang ng kanyang negosyo, alam ni Kimberly na hind puwedeng mawala ang ube.

“You can’t pass that vibrant purple color,” sabi ng Fil-Am chef.

Pero para makagawa ng masarap na ube, gumagamit si Kimberly ng frozen ube mula sa Pilipinas, dahil wala ang uri ng ube na kailangan nila sa Amerika.

“You can’t find fresh ube in America because it’s an invasive species. It doesn’t grow anywhere.”

Kumusta naman ang kanyang workforce?

Ani Kimberly, “Our team is very, very small and we’ve always been small when we started.

“All of our current employees are quite young, I think theyre all under 23, 24.”

Kasama rin ni Kora ang kanyang ina na si Tita Babes, na anak ng kanyang yumaong Lola Kora.

Aniya, “Having my mom and my aunt onsite with us, it’s a lot of fun.

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“It’s definitely brought us closer together, especially over the fact that we’re bonding over her mother, my grandmother, and how this business is built on that.”

Pinoy rin ang ama ni Kimberly.

Ang sabi ni Kimberly, hindi siya napi-pressure na nagiging advocate siya para makilala ang Filipino culture sa international food map.

“I think it’s more pressure on myself from a personal and professional standpoint to just be a better chef, because I’m constantly doing new ideas, but something new and unique.”

Pero sigurado siya na ang lahat ng ito ay pagpupugay sa kanyang Pinoy roots at impluwensiya ng kanyang lola.

“Kora [the business] is the coming together of my entire life," sabi ni Kimberly.

“There is no way that my grandmother is looking down on us and isn’t so proud of the work we’ve all done.

“Wherever Kora takes us, behind all of it is my connection with her and my connection with my family.”

Continue reading below ↓

kora donuts

Champorado donut

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This Filipino-American chef's discovery of her late lola's recipe book has led her to her successful donut shop in New York City. Kimberly Camara's pastry shop is patronized by a huge clientele for its Pinoy-merienda-flavored donuts—ube, leche flan, halo-halo, pandan, and champorado.
PHOTO/S: @kimberlymmendoza on Instagram
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