Senior Kenneth Cacacho shares the story behind his ever-growing culinary enterprise
The greatest problem you had at five years old was probably finding the right crayon to use in your coloring book. For senior Kenneth Cacacho, however, it was how to reach the countertop to help his Aunt Hilda stir baking mixtures.
Having been exposed to the wonders of the kitchen ever since he was a child, Cacacho strives to develop what began as an interest to a passion-fueled, self-run bakery. Creatively called “Sweet Route,” the business boomed ever since he thought of the idea about two and a half years ago.
“The end of freshman year, I said [to myself], let’s do a bakery. What do I wanna do? What do I like to do? How do I leave an impact here, and how do I do something new for myself and everybody else?” Cacacho said. “If I was looking at myself when I was as a freshman, I would not have expected it to blow this big.”
Despite his successes today, Cacacho was not exempted from the concerns that every budding entrepreneur experiences.
“I felt confident in the recipes because I tested them,” Cacacho said. “But the scary part was thinking about what the customer would think—how they think of me, how they think of the business.”
His fears proved false, however, as Sweet Route attracted plenty of customers, keeping Cacacho busy fulfilling orders not only from students but for big events as well. So far, he has catered for banquets, track events, graduations, and even dances like Winter Ball and Homecoming. Last year, he even provided the food for three weddings. This high demand requires remarkable time-management skills, which Cacacho pretty much mastered last year as a junior by juggling his business in addition to extracurriculars and AP classes.
“I had my agenda always with me,” Cacacho said. “It was hard during track season because I had that and baking, but you get through it knowing that you could start early and prepare yourself. My opinion is to just do it and get it done so you don’t have to worry about it later.”
Despite Sweet Route’s impressive progress, Cacacho is rarely complacent with his accomplishments: the summer following his junior year, he introduced and tested a new aspect to his business called the Sweet Route Restaurant. Here, customers discuss with Cacacho their personal palate, which he tailors to create a customized three-course gourmet meal ranging at about twenty to thirty dollars per person.
“The restaurant was good to see how I am with real food, actual food, which I like, too,” Cacacho said. “People ask me what do I like better, cooking or baking, and I honestly can’t decide. It’s like asking a parent to choose between their son or daughter.”
Being a senior means that Cacacho is currently running the final year of the Sweet Route business at American High. His culinary journey, however, is not stopping anytime soon.
“I see Sweet Route as good practice for what I’m gonna do in the future,” Cacacho said. “I owe a lot to it. My friends and family all support me, and I really appreciate that. I just think it’s time for whatever the next thing is—it’s gonna be something bigger, something better, and this was just a good stepping stone.”
Cacacho started this business to pursue his passion, which he hopes others will be inspired to do as well. What kind of business they run—baking or otherwise—does not matter.
“You have to put 125% of your time, effort and talent into it,” Cacacho said, “and the only way to do that is to do what you love and love what you do.”