The Bald Baker: On Burnout and Sweet Beginnings

If there’s one good thing about burnout, its latest victim almost always turns to something positive to keep it away. For former advertising creative Cy Ynares, he found his sweet refuge in baking and an industry known domain, titled

“I was in advertising for about six to seven years, and started with a really small events agency and just kept moving until I got into the firms that I wanted,” Ynares shares. “Until the tasks that I was doing felt mechanical and I personally felt like I wasn’t learning anything anymore.”

During one Christmas season, Ynares baked cookies as gifts to friends. Like how most success stories of this kind go, word spread, cookies were divulged and the Bald Baker was born. He left his corporate life for good (and) food.


It could be Greener on the Other Side

Deciding to build a career apart from the corporate ladder where Ynares spent most of his adult life was easy, the hard part was everything else that followed.

Ynares took it upon himself to work out every part of his business. He bettered his baking skills with further education, he develops his own recipes, and he markets himself. Though it’s remarkable that Ynares wears plenty of hats, he could only wear so much.

“Becoming your own boss is the dream and contrary to popular belief, putting up your own start up is so much harder than working for a corporation. You’re always haunted with ideas, sometimes to the point where you can’t sleep because you want to see if that idea will work.”

Aside from needing extra hands and the spurts of ideas, he dealt with one of the obvious challenges of transitioning from corporately employed, to being his own boss. He had to change how he looked at his finances.

“The financial transition was actually quite difficult. I came from being financially independent to asking for allowance from my parents on a weekly basis. But I guess it really helped that I laid out my plan to resign to my parents who supported me 100%.”

One thing that Ynares points out is that in order to live his dream, he had to venture to other possible sources of income as well.

“I used to have a t-shirt company, @CRZYKIDSPH that I ran alongside Bald Baker before. Surprisingly, the income there was better—compared to Bald Baker, but wasn’t as fun and fulfilling. Now my income mainly comes from photography—I shot for a few restaurants already- and blogging from time to time.”

The Growth of a Baker

His saccharine-filled childhood proved to be an extensive inventory of inspiration for his pastries. Growing up to a baker mom, Ynares started his life in the kitchen for as young as seven-years-old as he dabbled on his mom’s extra cookie dough from the bakery she worked in. But the meticulous practice of baking was unforgiving on his first time in the kitchen, even when he clearly got the genes for the job.

The first thing I ever baked were puto muffins and OMG! I used Bisquick as the base,” the 34-year-old recalls fondly. “Those were just horrible! I clearly remember my brother and my dad’s face when they bit into it like it was yesterday.”

But the young baker was unfazed. He prodded on and on until he got things right, a persisting spirit that has endured even now that he’s in his 30s juggling the life as a blogger slash baker. This attitude has also become a trademark on how he nurtures his babies, or how he fondly calls his cookie creations.

His recipe for the best-seller Chocomallows, for one, has undergone several revisions. Its first batches had scant toppings of marshmallows and had a different texture. Now, the latest batches are filled with three to four kinds of chocolate and oozing with some fluffy marshmallows to boot.

“The recipes change when my taste buds change because at the end of the day, I’m really just baking for myself,” Ynares says. “I don’t do this because I need to put food on the table. The ingredients I use are the same ones I would use for my family and myself. I don’t scrimp or try to cut costs to make a profit.”


Learning to Work the Ropes

To further equip himself in his new career path, Ynares took up Pastry Arts in the International School for Culinary Arts and Hotel Management.

For such standards for excellence, a Bald Baker cookie sells around P60 to P80 apiece with a minimum order of eight. For now, orders may only be picked up in Burgos Circle in Bonifacio Global City save for its selected pop-ups in food bazaars as he is currently running as a one-man team.

“I handle everything from grocery shopping, to making the dough, to baking, to packing and even to packaging it’s all me. I really wish it wasn’t true,” he quips. “In five years, I do hope I’m still baking and that I have a commissary already with trusted bakers working for me.”

His years of experience in advertising have also built him the stamina to wear different hats and the stomach to live through the uncertainties of working as a solo entrepreneur.

“I think advertising disciplined me to be patient with setbacks and to be able to filter out ideas and focus on my goals,” Ynares says. “But more importantly [it helped me] to know which segment to cater to.”

Since the brand’s inception in 2014, Ynares has created a delish selection of chewy cookies. Some of the notable ones are the Dark Chili Cookie for the adventurous chocolate lover; Milo Dinosaur that brings you back to your childhood and an Oatmeal and Flax combination for those who wish to indulge themselves without the guilt. The baker has also started offering his own take on the classic banana loaf, generously made with a kilo worth of Cavendish.

Even when he has already made a name for himself online as a cookie aficionado, Ynares, like every other entrepreneur and creative still yearns more for his business and his self—he has a whole lot of pastries to explore, and items to tick off on his bucket list.

“At the end of the day, my goals and the way I do things haven’t changed. I still bake because I want to and because it makes me happy,” Ynares says. “One day, I hope my cookies would be something people would be inspired by.”

Photography by DeeGee Razon

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