When Kimberly Camara was fired from her job as a research and development chef in the hospitality industry last March, she decided to temporarily move in with her parents in Bayside, Queens. There she found solace in baking and developed her own kind of donut, which was made from leftover brioche batter.
She realized pretty quickly that she was up to something. Last June, Ms. Camara and her business partner and friend Kevin Borja founded Kora, a Filipino-inspired bakery named after her late grandmother, Corazon. The company now has more than 23,000 followers on Instagram and its weekly donut drops – a total of around 500 baked goods that are either picked up at Ms. Camara’s apartment or delivered within a certain area – are sold out immediately.
Ms. Camara’s donuts, made from scratch, have Filipino flavors like Eube (a purple yam), Leche Flan, Sans Rival (a layered cake made from cashew nuts), and Halo-Halo (a cold dessert). She plans to expand to savory foods and other pastries at some point.
Last summer, Ms. Camara, 27, returned to her own apartment in Woodside, Queens, where Kora’s demands recently forced her out of her home kitchen and into a more industrial work area.
SOCIAL OBLIGATIONS One of the first things I do before I even get out of bed is the Kora Instagram. Although we have a social media person, I like to personally answer as many messages as possible. More recently, Sundays have been devoted to photo shoots with my brother (who is our in-house photographer) for social purposes and on our website.
Rushed My cousin Rob walked through the hall with our two other friends, who also happen to be my designer and one of our delivery staff. Since the beginning of the quarantine we have developed this new hobby of skipping rope. Rob jumps rope in front of the apartment every morning around 8:30 am, so I did that a lot with him. I usually get up and he text me to meet him downstairs and we jump rope, exercise a bit for an hour or so.
BACK TO BAYSIDE Usually Sundays are my big family days when I can actually return to Bayside and have a good time with them. My mother and brother are always here on Fridays to make donuts, but we’re so hard at what is happening that we don’t really spend a lot of time together or hang out.
THE COMMUTE When it’s nice, I usually drive to Bayside from here, which is about an hour’s drive on my little foldable bike. There are many hills. That has been my training lately. It’s really difficult on weekdays to find time to exercise and sometimes even eat less because I’m just so busy. I will try to multitask: ride a bike while moving from one place to another and also exercising.
MOTHER / DAUGHTER PERIOD My mom is always so excited to have me back in Bayside because I’m always so busy with kora now. And so she always says: “Oh my God, let’s cook something” or “Let’s grill.”
ISLAND OF GOLD We go to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for whatever we want to make. In the Philippines, they call them “Palengkes,” which refers to the wet or open-air markets that sell meat, fruits, and vegetables. But here it usually only refers to an Asian supermarket. We go to that one Asian supermarket called the Island of Gold. We just call it “IOG” and it’s in Fresh Meadows.
PREPARATION OF THE GRIND My mom usually does a lot of the easier things and just gives me the hard things. She doesn’t want to worry about it so I take care of all the proteins and make marinades or what have you got? And then we just sit down and enjoy a meal together. My brother and I usually grill when she wants to put the grill on, or we sit inside at the dining table and talk about anything and everything.
LEGENDS OF CORAZON My grandmother is always a topic of conversation for us. She raised me and my brother and when she immigrated here from the Philippines, she lived in our home. So I literally lived with her and when she died she was still with us. Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to my mother, I always ask her about my grandma and the things she did or ate as adults. 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 MOVIE Kevin will spend the day with his family and then he could meet me again at my apartment. We only spend some time together because we’re really in work mode all week, so time doesn’t really happen. We have ordered a lot and usually on Sunday night while we are making a movie we will get something to go late at night. There’s this Mexican place on the street, El Guacamole. We’ll get this sometimes because they’re open until 3am
Sunday Routine readers can follow Kimberly Camara on Instagram @kimberlymcamara and her donuts @fromkora.