Some of the city’s best cheesecakes are made in the Bronx…in a jar.
These fanciful creations come from Kingsbridge native Justin Gonzalez and his delicious modern approach to a classic dessert.
He calls his business Cubano’s Cheesecakes, derived from his childhood nickname ‘Chef Cubano’, about his love for cooking and his Cuban heritage.
Fruity Pebbles, M&Ms, and lately Krispy Kreme jarred cheesecakes are just some of Gonzalez’s delicious specialty works.
So, why put these cheesecakes in jars?
“It’s just easier, it’s like a ‘to-go’ snack this way, the only difference is how long you bake it for,” the 27-year-old baking aficionado said, adding that he does the traditional boxed cheesecakes as well.
Believe it or not, when he was just a kid, there was an incident that made Chef Cubano shy away from baking cheesecakes for years.
“One time I messed up baking a cheesecake and my mom got so mad she sent me to my room, I didn’t make cheesecakes after that,” he said.
It was only years later when Gonzalez was assigned to make a cheesecake at Star Career Academy that he was forced to confront his dairy-based demons.
From then on the ball started to roll for Gonzalez. In 2014 he began his ‘test runs’ for Cubano’s Cheesecakes at a celebrity basketball game at Baruch College in Manhattan.
“People loved it there and then it just grew and grew,” Gonzalez said.
During that testing phase, Gonzalez didn’t have a phone or anything, he just went around the city handing out cheesecakes to those willing to give them a try.
“I was like one of those guys in Times Square handing out comedy show tickets,” he joked.
Fast forward to 2018 and it’s a much different reality for the Bronx-operating chef.
Now he has delivered cheesecakes to Madison Square Garden while the Knicks practice, caters to the radio station Hot97 and even made famed rapper Jadakiss a Patron tequila birthday cheesecake.
Gonzalez also caters to The Compound art gallery alongside the Third Avenue Bridge.
One NBA player even reached out to Gonzalez to deliver a cheesecake to his hotel in the middle of the night once.
“For me this is a dream come true now, school was never my thing and I was always in and out of jobs. I finally found my thing and I love making people happy and making my family proud,” Gonzalez said.
To order one from Chef Cubano visit his website: www.chefc