When Kimberly Camara was fired from her job last March as a hospitality industry research and development cook, she decided to temporarily move with her parents to Bayside, Queens. There she found solace in baking, developing her own style of donut made from leftover brioche dough.
She realized pretty quickly that she was on to something. So, last June, alongside her business partner and boyfriend, Kevin Borja, Ms. Camara launched Kora, a Filipino-inspired bakery named after her late grandmother, Corazon. Today, the company has more than 23,000 Instagram followers, and its weekly donuts – totaling some 500 pastries that are either picked up at Ms. Camara’s apartment or delivered to a certain radius – are selling out immediately.
Ms. Camara’s donuts, made from scratch, have Filipino flavors like ube (a purple yam), flan de leche, unrivaled (a cashew-based layered cake), and a halo-halo (a cold dessert). She plans to expand to savory foods and other pastries eventually.
Last summer Ms Camara, 27, returned to her own apartment in Woodside, Queens, where Kora’s demands recently forced her to leave her kitchen and move to a more industrial workspace. .
SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS One of the first things I do, actually before I even get out of bed, is browse Kora Instagram. Even though we have one person on social media, I like to personally respond to as many posts as possible. Most recently Sundays were all about photoshoots with my brother (who is our in-house photographer) for social media and our website.
IN ROPE My cousin Rob walked across the hall with our two other friends who are also my designer and one of our delivery guys. Since our early forties we’ve kind of developed this new hobby of skipping rope. Rob skips rope every morning outside the apartment around 8:30 am, so I’ve done that with him a lot. Usually I get up, and he texts me to meet him downstairs and we’ll jump rope, do a little practice for about an hour.
RETURN TO BAYSIDE Usually Sundays are my big family days where I can return to Bayside and spend some quality time with them. My mom and brother are always here on Fridays for donut production, but we’re so heavily loaded with everything that is going on that we don’t really spend quality time together or hanging out.
THE COMMUTE If the weather is nice, I usually cycle from here to Bayside which is about an hour’s ride on my little foldable bike. There are a lot of hills. This has been my training lately. On weekdays it’s really hard to find time to train let alone eat sometimes, because I’m just so busy. I will try to multitask: ride a bike while I move from one place to another and also train.
MOTHER / DAUGHTER TIME My mom is always so excited to see me again at Bayside because I’m always so busy with Kora now. And so she will always say, “Oh, my God, let’s cook something” or “Let’s have a barbecue”.
GOLD ISLAND We’ll go to the grocery store to find ingredients for whatever we decide to do. In the Philippines, they call them ‘palengkes’, which refers to wet markets or open air markets where meat, fruits and vegetables are found. But here, generally, it refers to any Asian supermarket. We go to this Asian supermarket specifically called Island of Gold. We just call it “IOG”, and it’s at Fresh Meadows.
MEAL PREPARATION My mom usually does a lot of the simpler things and just gives me the heavy stuff. She doesn’t want to take care of it, so I’m going to take care of all the protein and make marinades or whatever. And then we’re just going to sit down and enjoy a meal together. My brother and I will usually go barbecue if she wants to grill the grill, or we’ll be inside just sitting around the dining table and chatting about everything and nothing.
LEGENDS OF CORAZON My grandmother is always a topic of conversation for us. She raised my brother and me, and when she immigrated from the Philippines to come here, she lived in our house. So I literally lived with her growing up and when she passed away she was still living with us. When I have the chance to talk to my mom, I always ask her about my grandmother and the kinds of things they did or ate while growing up. These stories spark a lot of ideas for flavors to come or just remind me of why Kora is what Kora is.
MEXICAN AND A FILM Kevin will spend the day with his family and then maybe meet me at my apartment. We just spend quality time with each other because throughout the week we are really in work mode, so quality time is not really happening. We’ve made a lot of orders, and usually on Sunday evenings while we’re watching a movie, we’ll have late night take out. There’s this Mexican place down the street, El Guacamole. We will get it sometimes because they are open until 3 a.m.
Sunday Routine readers can follow Kimberly Camara on Instagram @kimberlymcamara and her donuts @fromkora.