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Starting a business is a handful; you have to balance out your life: work, friends, and family, building up a brand, and keeping up the pace with every other inconvenience that might pop up. Now imagine doing all of that and being a high-school teacher in the Puerto Rican public system. That’s what 28-year-old Chef William Adriel Marrero did. 

Chef Marrero has a background of studies from La Escuela Hotelera, but his passion for cooking was accompanied by an urge to teach as well. So he’s been working as an Advanced English teacher in the Vega Baja high-school Brigida Álvarez Rodríguez for the past three years (and is just starting his doctorate studies). He began a bakery called Will & Cakes on an online platform and I found it so peculiar (and dare I say impossible) that I had to ask him about it.

Her Campus at UPR: Will & Caesars sounds a lot like “Will & Grace”, does it have anything to do with the show? 

Chef Marrero: I’ve always loved the show and had been thinking of the name for a while, but I wasn’t sure how it would sound. 

 

HCUPR: After being a high-school teacher for three years, what inspired you to start up Will & Cakes? 

CWAM: I’ve always wanted to do it. Cooking is my passion. I love it. I live it. I love to create. I thought this would be a great opportunity to retake what I wanted. 

 

HCUPR: How do you keep a balance between work, baking, and family and friends? 

CWAM: Organizing. If I’m in school, it’s all school work. When I wake up, I do a list of the goals for the day. 

 

HCUPR: In some future, do you see Will & Cakes as a full-time gig? 

CWAM: Maybe. I love teaching; I wanna teach at a college level. With the schedule being more flexible, I’ll be able to dedicate more time to Will & Cakes. 

 

HCUPR: Since your recipes change with the seasons, what can we expect on the menu for summer? 

CWAM: I try to incorporate seasonal flavors. This summer you can expect more tropical flavors like coconut, passion fruit, guava. I want it to be very refreshing, but at the same time creative. Flavorful. 

 

HCUPR: Would you move from an online platform to an actual shop? 

CWAM: Yeah, eventually. That’s my goal right now, to have a place like that. 

 

HCUPR: I know you have a recipe book, do you ever think of publishing it? 

CWAM: No. I keep my recipes for myself.  … At least not for now. But that’s a no-no. 

 

HCUPR: What’s the message in your ingredients? 

CWAM: I like to use organic/fresh and local products. Apoyando lo local. 

 

HCUPR: What are your projections for the future? 

CWAM: Open up shop. Have the same concept of people tasting different things inspired by the seasons. 

 

HCUPR: How accessible are you? 

CWAM: You can follow my platforms on Instagram or Facebook. I check my accounts every day. 

 

HCUPR: What’s the typical response time? 

CWAM: I have someone that helps with the accounts (Facebook having an automatic reply), but typically within a few minutes. 

 

HCUPR: Common questions you receive or something you would like to add? 

CWAM: I guess it would be: how do you come up with the flavors and ideas? I think it has to do with my teacher’s half. I have a teacher half and a chef half. I think they compliment each other very well. My teacher half is always trying to come up with a way to present things and the chef half is experimenting with how those ideas can translate into a dish. 

 

I interviewed Chef Marrero in his classroom. Even though he was off duty, we were interrupted by students and teachers several times. I saw him juggle the various hats he wore at school as a teacher, counselor, and overall, friend. He was good-humored and joked with his visitors playfully. Te recibe con los brazos abiertos. 

Even though it can be hectic at times, the life of Chef William as a baker is filled with passion and his life as a teacher is fueled by a love for what he does and the kids he does it for. As a whole, he’s a man that’s managed truly see his dreams unfold before him. 

 

[The summer menu, unfortunately, was never realized due to time constraints in Chef William’s schedule]

Born in Manatí, Puerto Rico. Raised in the rural landscape of Vega Alta by a musician and a self-proclaimed Spanish teacher. Studied music from second grade to freshman year in high school part-time and heavier education circulated around mathematics and science. Despite all this, writing is my passion and I plan to keep at it.
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