How carolyn tada portuondo went from toxicologist to cake master – biting commentary – july 2016 – honolulu, hi

After years of earning a reputation for specialty cakes in Las Vegas, Carolyn Tada Portuondo returned to Hawai‘i to work as the executive pastry chef at The Royal Hawaiian in 2014. Quick oats oatmeal cookies Photo: Courtesy of The Royal Hawaiian

It’s the first time I’ve met the executive pastry chef at The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort, and she’s made me a custom cake—made from the hotel’s signature banana bread—in the shape of a pink surfboard with hibiscus blossoms. Cranberry oatmeal cookies It’s adorned with plumeria flowers and leaves—all edible—with a too-cute-to-eat dolphin poking his head from the ocean.


While I marvel at this creation, this cake is actually pretty standard for the uber-talented Portuondo, whose highly detailed, sculpted creations include Champagne bottles, NFL helmets, quilted Chanel purses, Tiffany & Co. Best oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies boxes, sports cars, airplanes, slot machines and an eerily lifelike The Walking Dead cake created for the cast of the popular AMC series.

“I just like that shock factor,” says the 36-year-old Punahou alum and mother of two. Chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies “I like to make stuff that people have never seen before. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies applesauce And when they get it and they’re shocked and happy, that’s what I love.”

Portuondo will be one of the chefs participating in the eighth annual Mangoes at the Moana this Saturday at the Moana Surfrider, along with Michelle Karr-Ueoka (MW Restaurant), Ed Kenney (Town), Mark “Gooch” Noguchi (Pili Group/Mission House) and Lee Anne Wong (Koko Head Café).

She joined The Royal Hawaiian in 2014 after running a successful retail bakery, Caked, in Las Vegas for about five years. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies betty crocker She was featured in consecutive seasons of TLC’s Fabulous Cakes, earned dozens of awards for her cakes, and even created an exact, to-scale replicate of McCarran International Airport’s Terminal 3. Pictures of oatmeal cookies Her stunning creations got her a gig with Paramount Pictures, baking for star-studded movie openings and lavish holiday parties.

Portoundo, who grew up in Mililani, majored in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Northern Colorado, with plans to earn a doctorate in pharmaceutical toxicology. How to bake oatmeal raisin cookies She worked as a lab assistant to pathologists doing autopsies until she realized she didn’t want to do that for the next 20 years.

So Portuondo, who grew up watching Great Chefs on PBS and had fond memories of baking oatmeal cookies with her grandma, ditched her plans and moved to Napa Valley, Calif. Easy healthy oatmeal cookies to attend the Culinary Institute of America. Healthy oatmeal cookies recipe After graduation, she returned home to work in the pastry shop at Alan Wong’s Honolulu under executive pastry chef Mark Okumura. Oatmeal raisin cookies subway She met her husband there, got married, then moved to Vegas, working as a pastry lead for The Venetian Las Vegas. Healthy oatmeal cookies recipe without flour After the birth of her second child, she quit her job to be a full-time mom, baking custom, specialty cakes from home for family and friends. Oatmeal raisin chocolate cookies Word spread, and soon she was buying commercial baking equipment on Craigslist and eBay and storing them in her two-car garage.

“I would always say yes,” Portuondu says. Raisin cookies recipe oatmeal “If they gave me a picture, I could make it exactly the way they wanted it. Oatmeal raisin cookies ingredients It’s the science side of my brain … In my brain, I can do anything—but it’ll cost you. Peanut butter oatmeal cookies gluten free And in Vegas, money is endless. Best oatmeal raisin cookies It was the perfect place.”

In 2010, at the urging of her then-husband, Portuondu signed a lease on a recently closed bagel shop on Maryland Parkway and her fame skyrocketed. Oatmeal cookies easy recipe She was working at least 15 hours a day while raising two kids. Chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies She even built a play area in the 1,500-square-foot bakery for them, complete with a couch and TV. Oatmeal cookies using old fashioned oats Then, one day, she was done.

“There are pros and cons to owning your own business,” she says. How do u make oatmeal cookies “You have that flexibility, but there’s the headaches, too, if anything goes wrong. Oatmeal cookies best You never really sleep well at night. Easy oatmeal cookies without brown sugar You’re always worrying about if the fridge is working or if the A/C shut down. Good oatmeal cookies The bakery was at the top of its game and I decided it was time to sell. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with quick oats Within two weeks, I was out.”

Divorced and a single mom, she wanted to raise her children—now 9 and 10—back home. Healthy oatmeal cookies recipe with applesauce So she took the job at The Royal Hawaiian and never looked back.

As the executive pastry chef, she’s responsible for the pastry programs at all of the hotel’s restaurants and bars. Oatmeal and raisins cookies Her bake shop, a fraction of the size she worked in at The Venetian, churns out everything from cheese brioche to custom specialty cakes that start at around $150.

Right now, the team is focused on the opening of a retail bakery in the hotel’s Coconut Grove in October. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies recipe It will feature house-made pastries, croissants, bread pudding muffins, banana bread and a slew of nostalgic desserts that evoke the feeling of the historic hotel.

“It feels really calm to me,” says Portuondu about working at the hotel, compared to life in Vegas. Healthy oatmeal cookies no flour “It’s not that high-stress, constantly going environment. No bake oatmeal cookies And I’m at the point where I feel like I can do anything.”

See Portuondo’s creations at the eighth annual Mangoes at the Moana, Saturday, July 16 from 9 a.m. Healthy oatmeal cookies with quick oats to 2 p.m., Moana Surfrider, 2365 Kalākaua Ave. How to make cookies with oatmeal Free to attend with costs to purchase items, 922-3111 or visit the website.