Daniel Corpuz finds the sweet scent of success after ‘School of Chocolate’ –
LIKE many others in the food and hospitality industry, Filipino-American Daniel Joseph Corpuz has lost his job as the global pandemic began to take its toll last year.
“Inisip ko kung ano ang puwede kong gawin, I can’t do anything here at home, ”said the chocolatier and pastry chef at Asian Review.
Corpuz has played a lot with chocolate to refine and apply his knowledge and he has posted his tips on social media. Due to his background in business and chocolate, he toyed with the idea of selling his chocolate creations and thus launched his chocolate brand.
He’s done a few pop-ups around town, including one at Kabisera, a Filipino-owned cafe on the Lower East Side.
Then Netflix found it. They liked his story and decided to have him on the show called ‘School of Chocolate’. Corpuz described the experience as incredible, one that really made him achieve what he wanted to do in life.
“We did a thousand and one things that I never thought we would do. From our feet of high sculptures, carving things and just meeting the chief Amaury ”, he shared. “He’s such a pastry icon that when we finally met him I was so excited. And it definitely opened a thousand doors for me after the show.
It refers to French pastry chef Amaury Guichon, a renowned chocolatier who is their instructor on the show. Corpuz was one of eight pastry and chocolate professionals vying for the grand prize of $ 100,000 and a chance to teach at the Guichon Pastry Academy in Las Vegas.
The series premiered on Netflix on November 26.
Young and enthusiastic
Now 23, Corpuz was the youngest student in the series. Born and raised in New York City, he turned 22 while they were filming the series in Los Angeles late last year.
“Obviously everyone who was there were seasoned vets. And there was definitely that part of me that was like, ‘Oh man, can I compete? Will I be able to deliver the same product? ‘ “, did he declare.
As doubt mounted in his head, he had to dig deep for inspiration and find the reason he was there in the first place.
“I think after the first episode, that’s when I was like, ‘I’m here for a reason. “And clearly I proved to the folks at Netflix that I wasn’t that random person who just does stuff and seeing what I was producing and seeing what everyone was producing I was able to do it. Okay, I’m here and I’m happy to be here, ”he added.
When he saw the rest of the class he also realized that he was the only Filipino and he thought it was a great opportunity to show them his heritage.
He wanted to represent one way or another, in terms of flavor or design.
For their first challenge, the students were invited to make their own mold. It was something Corpuz had done before, so he figured he would go with a brown coffee bag because he’s a real coffee demon.
“I wanted the [Philippine] map to be a little more specific, but at one point I thought I had to let it go and people clearly understood what the map looked like, ”he said with a laugh.
He is grateful that the producers took a chance on him. He is grateful to have Chief Amaury as a mentor and to learn life lessons from him.
Aside from the cool tips and tricks he learned and added to his arsenal, Corpuz said he takes to heart what Chef Amaury told him about humility and how he should never stop. to learn.
“I know I’ll never be the best of the best because there is always something to add to what I do. Technically and clearly, the other chefs showed more pastry skills and so this is something I was working on more, ”he said.
Feeding her love for chocolate
Corpuz received his Associate’s Degree in Bakery and Bachelor of Food Business Administration in 2019 from the Culinary Institute of America in upstate New York, the training ground for many chefs who have made their name. in industry.
“It’s so un-Filipino not to go to a traditional area. I feel so lucky that my parents didn’t crush my dream. Sinuportahan nila talaga ako, whether it’s for washing the dishes or cleaning up after my mess, ”he said with a laugh.
The CIA was his only choice of school. He knew that armed with a CIA degree, he could begin to dream of starting his own business.
At the CIA he learned the basics and in the end it was up to the students to choose what they wanted to do. And for him, it was chocolate.
“I love the taste of chocolate, I love the smell of chocolate,” Corpuz said, showing us the Davao City cocoa. “Working with it is different, unlike decorating cakes or blowing sugar. “
Corpuz’s chocolate business is Filipino and Asian in inspiration or influence. He also has the classic flavors but he also wants to showcase inspired flavors such as ube, pandan, and muscovado.
“Most people don’t know what Filipino desserts are, what Filipino sweet flavors are, so being able to have the platform now to share what we have to offer is super fun,” he shared.
The last time he was in the Philippines was in 2009. He can’t wait to return one day to meet his friends and the cocoa farmers he has partnered with in Davao.
Netflix’s global reach as a platform has led Corpuz to receive messages from Filipino viewers and Filipino viewers around the world every day.
“It’s been such a whirlwind and I’m so grateful for the support,” he said.
His stand at the Columbus Circle Holiday Market was busy with shoppers and spectators who spoke to him and took their selfies as soon as they recognized who he was. On the day of our interview, we even ran into a few out-of-state tourists who went to the market when they discovered the pop-up through Corpuz’s Instagram post.
As demand for its chocolates increases, Corpuz plans to invest in more equipment and potentially hire more people to help make its delicate treats.
By starting the brand from a very small kitchen in their Staten Island apartment, Corpuz is aiming higher. One day he wants a Daniel Corpuz Chocolatier store.
Armed with his tenacity and his confidence, tempered by the right mix of humility and nerve, we hope that Daniel Corpuz will open the doors of his own chocolate factory sooner than he imagined.