Friday, December 5, 2014

The name Camerino comes from...

Friday 5th December, 2014

Camerino is my family name.

Choosing a name for the bakery was hard. Ideas were bounced around but none stuck. In the end, Camerino just felt right. My decision was made on a gut feeling.

Negotiations for the lease on the bakery space went on for a year with no hint of when they would conclude. I carried on with work and life but was on high alert. When the lease was agreed I would have just 4 weeks to fit out the shop before the rent clock would start ticking. Any moment could be go-time.  

My grandfather, Enzo Camerino, is a survivor of Auschwitz. He and his family were taken from their home in Rome on the 16th October 1943. You can learn about his story, see videos and read interviews here.

Before the Jews were taken form Rome, a part of the Camerino family converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism to protect themselves. This side of the family, Enzo’s uncles, were coffee roasters, and famous ones at that. 3 brothers in business together made Cafffe Camerino, the coffee with 3 F’s (3 “fratelli” or brothers). These Camerino’s were saved from persecution.

Enzo was a great speaker in front of an audience but less talkative with me. Last year was the 70th anniversary of his deportation to Auschwitz. Enzo lives in Montreal, in an assisted home for elderly people. Imagine my surprise when I came across a photo on Facebook of my grandfather shaking hands with the Pope. My grandfather and the Pope on Facebook. It was bizarre on so many levels.
I rang my mother immediately; “Is Nonno in Italy?”

“No, you know he can’t go to Italy. He has dialysis three times a week. He couldn’t go.”

“Well I’m staring at a picture of him with Pope Francis.”

“It must be Photoshopped. How could he go without us knowing?”

“Can you call the home and check that he’s there?”


(2 minutes pass. The phone rings)

“Your grandfather is in Rome.”

This year I was ready for it. My father, sister and I invited ourselves to Rome for the 16th October commemoration and Enzo was invited to meet his pal Pope Francis again. My flights were booked. Then my lease was agreed and I got the keys to my bakery on the 1st October. The starting gun had shot. I could have stayed in Dublin to keep to the construction schedule. I decided to go Rome with my family regardless.

There is a Holocaust history preservation group in Rome that knows Enzo very well by now. Enzo is one of two remaining survivors of that transportation on the 16th October 1943, but the only one of sound mind. He is the only survivor able to recount his experience for them to record. On this trip we all went together, my family and I, to watch Enzo give them a video recorded interview specifically about his escape from Auschwitz and his return to Italy. I never knew that it was his name, Camerino, that convinced a passing truck carrying coffee beans, to bring him back to Rome.

Back in the 70s Cafffe Camerino had a few coffee shops in Rome with some pretty cool branding. The business was sold a few years ago and while Cafffe Camerino still exists, it isn’t operated with the love and soul it once had. When I was back in Rome in October I met some Camerino’s I hadn’t met in years and some I’d never met. The Camerino’s were beyond excited, even moved, at the impending opening of a Camerino, run by a Camerino in Dublin – as if the name was being reclaimed by the family.

Camerino connected me to the Italian side of my family, with whom I had little in common other than our name. Now our name in business was something we could talk about. I was getting well wishes and gifts, and even parcels of cherished old and rare branded merchandise from the good old days of Cafffe Camerino.

On Sunday, my family threw an early birthday party for Enzo. My sister rang me to include me in the action. Enzo took the phone and we spoke. I thanked him for the money he sent me for Camerino. It was well spent on coffee beans. He asked if everything was good and if I was good. Yes and yes. He told me that he was happy for me and that he was happy. Camerino had been open for one month.

Tuesday was his 86th birthday and Tuesday was the day he passed away.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Announcing my new food baby… CAMERINO

158 Capel Street, Dublin 1
Serving Bakes, cakes, coffees, lunch 
Monday to Friday 7:30am - 5pm, Saturday 10am - 4:30pm

In the past year I have clocked up enough happiness hours to definitively name 2014 as the happiest year of my life. So many great things have happened and I've felt so many times in a given moment that I was doing exactly what I should be doing.

It has been a longtime dream to open a bakery of my own. As with any new business, there are challenges. In my case the challenge started with visa restrictions, money restrictions, sleep deprivation, workspace challenges, the personal challenge of letting go just enough to let others help me…

I'd been searching for the right premises for years. I stalked properties, loitered in the Registry of Deeds, and zoned in on 158 Capel street. It took an entire year to get the keys.

Once I had a lease it took 4 weeks to assemble a fit-out crew, do the electrics, plumbing, carpentry, painting, hiring, graphics, moving equipment, pest control, waste management staff training, menu planning… and 4 weeks ago we opened our doors.

This is what the space looked like on the 1st October 2014. CAMERINO before

This is CAMERINO after

I've assembled a team of ninja bakers and a samurai barista. Together, we are Camerino. Bakery, cakery, coffee. We serve lunches to takeaway, the best dang coffee in town using Roasted Brown, and of course our signature baked treats.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…. Terenure Enterprise Centre is still going strong. We continue to supply some of Dublin's best café establishments.

These days you can find me in one of my two bakeries, or on the way from one to the other, or evading clampers.

Monday, September 15, 2014

This week in the bakery… a little nomination here, a little wedding there

It's been yet another busy couple of weeks, both in and out of the bakery. Here is a summary of events in pictures…


I am very proud to ramble off just a few awards the bakery has been nominated for in the past couple of weeks:

Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies are in the finals of the  BLAS NA HEIREANN Irish Food Awards! The ceremony takes place in Dingle on the 4th October...

This very blog has been shortlisted

And I am very chuffed to be in talented company in the Bash Create Awards
Cast your vote here
I then skipped off to Toronto for a best friend's wedding. The trip was great, and as baking is more of a passion than a job, I made sure to stop and check out the lauded Bakerbots bakery in downtown Toronto on my time off.  You'd think I would be worried about eating too much cake before squeezing into a cocktail dress, but no. I ate a homemade ice cream sandwich. Flavour? Earl grey ice cream in an oatmeal and date cookie. Holy yum. I also took a tiny lemon tart to go (which I ate like 5 minutes later on the subway)

Delicioso ice cream sandwich from Bakerbots, Toronto 

David, of David and Lori Bisserman, are the happy couple and their wedding was so much fun. 

The groom and I stopped for a bubble tea on his wedding day. Reason #135 of why we are friends.

Epic wedding date. Photo courtesy of Amy Share
Book Launch
The awaited book Sláinte was launched at the Irish Craft Beer Festival last week and boy, was I excited! Caroline Hennessy and Kristin Jensen created a wonderful and current piece of work.
You can buy your own copy from New Island Books here

Also this week marked 10 years for Totally Dublin, one of my favorite irish publications. i was happy to make an exceptionally heavy cake for them as they celebrated in Temple Bar's Library Project. 

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland

Monday, August 25, 2014

This Week in the Bakery… things that fit perfectly into other things

Things that fit perfectly into other things. Oh, the satisfaction! Making these magic moments happen is my superpower. I inherited this superpower from my mother Orna, a renowned Tupperware queen. Her domestic ultra-skill was born unto me, where I carry the torch into the bakery. I can Tetris pack the van like a boss. I can stack cake boxes like nobody's business. Crushed pineapple to store in the fridge? I have just the airtight container for the job. 

There is an entire website dedicated to the joy ( Those pictures to me are what cute puppy memes are to the rest of the Western world. This week I will share my tools for the art. A superpower can't be taught or learned, but with a some creative thinking and patience, Grasshopper,  you could one day feel the daily joy that I do. It's the little wins… Honk if you feel me.

16 packets of crushed biscuits fits perfectly in this plastic storage container, purchased from Lidl.

This is a photo of an a-typically sized cooling rack given to me by my kitchen neighbor here in the Terenure Enterprise Centre. 

..and here is a new tray from Viking Direct that happens to fit perfectly.
How satisfying is it that these plastic forks fit perfectly in this jar, from Kitchen Compliments? Very. 
I love the way this case of butter fits perfectly into this 1/2L airtight Gastronorm Food container. 

I make no apologies. This is a thing of beauty. Viking Direct

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This week in the Bakery… the 5% that broke the Internet

From me to all of the marvelously, outrageously, incredibly generous friends, family and strangers: A HUGE thank you for your support as I grow this little bakery. 

My experience with Peer to Peer lending has been emotional. Linked Finance felt like the right fit for Caryna's Cakes. The success of the business has and will always be thanks to my dedicated customers. Those very customers nearly broke the Internet with their fast and furious low bids for investment. 

By the close of the auction at 9pm last night my loan of €10,000 was 388.10% funded with 173 lenders. The lowest bids within the auction meant that I secured the loan at the rock bottom, lowest possible rate of 5%! According to Linked Finance, this auction has easily been the most successful auction ever. This is an incredible result and I am so grateful for this major show of confidence and encouragement. 

Camerino coming soon!

Here I am telling all of Ireland about CAMERINO, coming soon… 

Pat Kenny didn't eat all of these himself. 

 You can hear me talk to Pat Kenny on Newstalk HERE.  My interview starts at 34:27. Happy listening.

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland

Saturday, August 9, 2014

This week in the bakery… I spent a day in CrossCare Café

From my experience running a business I have learned that success is in balance: the balance of work and life, the balance of financial gain and labors of love, the balance of keeping my head down and looking up… This week I took my head (and whole self) out of the bakery for the day to see a broader picture, and cook with some friends in the Cross Care Café on Portland Row.

Let's face facts. Hairnets are not my thing. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, right?… Here I am with Sharon and Bill Gunter of Slow Food Dublin
CrossCare Café is best described here, from the CrossCare website:

Today the face of poverty is ever changing and a service like ours must change to identify and address any new need, we know that over 10% of those living in Ireland are affected by Food Poverty, they simply can't afford to eat the recommended daily amounts. Those at high risk of Food Poverty are those living alone, families on low income, single parents and families with three or more children. We are now working to redevelop our food centres into "Community Cafe's" that all can access, wether your affected by isolation or low income, wether you can or can't afford to eat. These Cafe's are focusing to work with the entire local communty. Together we can work to help those most in need and address two major problems facing our society, Food Waste and Food Poverty.

CrossCare also have a Food Bank and Meals on Wheels services, all of which are supported by community programs such as prison gardens, generous donations and corporate sponsorships from companies like Kelloggs. 

Our task for the day was to make a delicious and nutritious meal for the cafe using the ingredients available. 

We set off to make a roasted vegetable lasagna, heavy on courgettes as there was a glut of beautiful courgettes in the fridge from a recent harvest. 

I'm supervising here as I am half Italian and therefore the expert on the matter of lasagna.

Lasagna Art

Meanwhile, across the city on Holles Street, another team of bloggers, Claire (An American in Ireland), Lily (A Mexican Cook) and Roseanne (Like Mam Used to Bake), were cooking a vegetable lasagna too (it must be our intuitive connection). They also put a rhubarb crumble on the menu.

When we heard through the modern-day grapevine (Twitter and Instagram) that team Holles Street was making a dessert, we quickly took to the pantry to match them. Sharon was reminded of fond childhood memories with Fruit Cocktail cobbler. We improvised and made a Fruit Cocktail bake with a Crunchy Nut cereal and toasted almond topping.

The cooking was enjoyable, as I always enjoy cooking. But the very best part of my experience was watching the people lunching amongst each other and together in the lovely, bustling café. There was a tangible sense of community in the space; the inclusive kind. I would happily go back as a customer (that's what you want to hear from someone who's seen the kitchen of a restaurant!) because it's like a normal, warm and friendly café, but better.

CrossCare Café, St Agatha's,Portland Row. 
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 08:30am til 1:30pm (Breakfast served from 8am til 11, Lunch served from 11am til 1:30pm)

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland

Friday, August 1, 2014

Blog Awards!

Check out who is on the long List of the Irish Blog Awards 2014 in 2 categories:
Best Food & Drink Blog
Best Blog of an SME 

  blog awards ireland

It's me!

Twitter: @carynascakes
Facebook: Caryna's Cakes
Phone: 086 0703425
Address: Terenure Enterprise Centre, 
17 Rathfarnham Road, Terenure, 

Dublin 6w, Ireland