While growing up in Brookville, Chris Poeschl said he learned to cook by standing at the kitchen counter and watching his mother.
“I would peel potatoes, knowing I wanted to be a chef when I grew up,” Poeschl said. “I loved it but knew I didn’t want to spend 16 hours a day for the rest of my life in a hot kitchen.”
So he decided to major in theater and French in college and, after graduating from the University of Dayton, he moved to Delaware to work for a theater company.
“I loved performing and eventually moved to New York,” he said.
And though he was pursuing his life passion for acting and performing, he said it has always been “feast or famine” type of career in New York.
“Sometimes your cup overflows and sometimes it’s very quiet,” he said.
It was during one of those quiet times when Poeschl and his partner, Tony Lanuza, who was raised in Maryland and also moved to New York to work in creative arts (he worked in costuming for television) rediscovered passions they both loved since childhood.
“We were having friends over and hosting dinners and our guests told us the food was wonderful and they asked us about our experience,” Lanuza said.
After a particularly successful New Year’s Eve party in 2013, Poeschl and Lanuza launched an online blog to share photos and recipes of their food items.
“After that it just started going crazy,” Poeschl said. “Some friends of Tony’s came for dinner and they loved our food and wanted us to submit our recipes to them for their website.”
And the “Brooklyn Baking Barons” were born.
The partners started publishing recipes and later videos, to show people how to prepare dishes step by step.
“We started gaining followers on Instagram and our other social media sites,” Poeschl said. “And that has brought us to where we are today.”
While steadily building a social media and online following, the Baking Barons are also now supplying desserts to two restaurants in Manhattan.
“The first restaurant to offer our desserts is Greensquare Tavern,” Lanuza said. “I work there as a bartender and they approached me about doing a tasting and the following week, we had a dessert menu. We sell out pretty much all the time.”
The Barons now have a signature dessert – their Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey Cake – that Poeschl said “flies out of the kitchen,” along with their other popular items, a gluten-free chocolate cake, a tiramisu, a Brooklyn brownie a la mode, a raspberry rhubarb tart and a peach pie with bourbon vanilla bean sauce.
Lanuza said they are working on branding their business and though they will cater breakfasts, lunches and dinners and make “just about everything,” he said they specialize in desserts.
Like Poeschl, Lanuza grew up in a household focused on cooking, though his was Italian and Spanish.
“My entire household revolved around the dining room table and I still use my grandmother’s recipes today,” he said.
Both agree that helping people learn how to cook at home is important because many people today shy away from it, believing it’s too difficult and stressful.
“We want to show people that cooking at home can be just as delicious and fun as what you can buy out,” Poeschl said. “We think more people should do it.”
To help with this, the Barons offer private in-home classes,as well as instructional videos that show step by step how to make recipes at home.
“We show photos every step of the way,” Poeschl said.”We want to make things as easy as possible for the home cook.”
Within the next few months, the Barons will have their website up and running and will be able to accept orders for their dessert items online.
“We are mobilizing our shipping site for baked goods, which means we will soon be able to ship our honey whiskey cakes to Dayton,” Poeschl said. “The food we make isn’t overly fussy. We want our food to bring people back home and it’s special to both of us because it brings joy to people’s lives when they enjoy what we make. We are just immensely proud of the work we are doing.”
Find out more about the Baking Barons by logging on to bk-barons.tumblr.com/