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Rising Stars: Meet Derek Bracho

Today we’d like to introduce you to Derek Bracho.

Hi Derek, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I started Focaccia Boi in 2019 as a venture into baking after years of research and experimentation in the world of gluten that I love so much. I was originally only making bread for a small group of email subscribers on my days off from my bartending job. When the pandemic hit, I took a layoff so my wife and I could quarantine together and feel safe. Madness hit the grocery stores and all the bread, flour, yeast, and toilet paper flew off the shelves. While I couldn’t help much with the toilet paper shortage, I wanted to fulfill a need in my community by offering bread.

With the help of some local businesses, I bought 100lbs of flour and got to work on my tiny mixer and cranked out loaves as fast as I could then hit the road to deliver bread to people while they quarantined. For months I delivered bread as far south as San Diego and as far north as Northridge and gained a cult following throughout Southern California. A few months ago, I started offering my version of Detroit style pizzas as a fun experiment. To my surprise, the response has been insane from presales filling up in 8 minutes to food bloggers calling me the number one pizza maker in Southern California. I am currently focusing on keeping up and looking for a location to open in 2021 hopefully!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Growing pains are real. I’ve continued to adapt to the space I do have to make things smoother, invested in commercial equipment to increase my productivity, and used my support system to help keep me on track. It’s a real emotional rollercoaster; some days I’m in tears fearing that I can’t make it happen and others I’m on cloud nine feeling like nothing can stop me.

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Other than focaccia and pizza, I would like to think I am known for my focus on my community by supporting the causes I believe in and making the community around Focaccia Boi feel inclusive. I try to do as many things as I can to support things such as LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, immigrant rights and anyone in need of support. Whether you lost your job or you were evacuated due to fires, I hope all can turn to their friendly neighborhood Focaccia Boi for help.

What matters most to you?
Community. You are the sum of your community, your support, your friends, your family and your neighbors. Why not shape that into something you’re proud of and that will be proud of you?

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