Community kitchen academy graduate starts new online bakery

Maritela's Filipino baked goods open for business on Instagram
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 8:29 AM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The goal of Feeding Chittenden’s Community Kitchen Academy is to teach people how to cook so they can start a new career, and one recent graduate shows it can be done.

Maritela’s Filipino Baked Goods owner Raven Antonio said she didn’t even realize how big of a Filipino community there is here in Vermont.

It’s that community and surrounding communities that have turned her dream into a reality.

“Filipino food is very cultural,” said Antonio, “It’s passed down from generation to generation.”

The name, Maritela’s, is a combination of her grandmothers’ names, two people she said were big inspirations for the food.

But bringing the food to life required some training. In stepped Feeding Chittenden’s Community Kitchen Academy.

“If only I could get the professional skill to only learn how to do it,” said Antonio.

Through the academy, she learned new cooking skills, as well as some of the business skills needed to launch an online shop. One of the chefs in charge of the academy described Antonio as a dream student.

“She put the foundation down and she applied all these things and she built this thing for herself which is great,” said Chef James Logan with the academy, “it’s a good product and a quality product.”

Chef James described Antonio as hardworking, and she was, after all, balancing a full-time job, school and the academy.

Antonio isn’t the only one who has found success at the Community Kitchen Academy, graduates have walked away to start new businesses, work in kitchens or serve the community.

“I have a lot of support that push me or inspire more to actually do it after I finished the program,” said Antonio.

For now, she is making Instagram her main platform, but she said as she continues to grow the business, she knows the teachers at the academy will be there to help her.

“They have been a great help for going forward because they are always going to be here, they are always going to be a helping hand to like help me and being a helping hand in very, very small ways,” said Antonio.

Maritela’s will have a pop-up shop at the University Mall on Black Friday, as well as before Christmas.

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