He used to sell crack, now he owns a successful bakery – New York Post

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He used to sling crack. Now he’s baking highly addictive cupcakes.

Meet Antwoin Gutierrez, a k a Chef Fresh. He started making and selling the drug as a 16-year-old in Peekskill, NY, but these days owns Fresh Taste, an online bakery that caters to celebrities’ sweet tooths.

His career transformation wasn’t easy, or swift. It came after three stints in prison, including two for drug dealing and the last, for a robbery that landed him in behind bars for 32 months.

“If I could tell teenage me that I’d be baking the dopest cupcakes, I would’ve said you’re crazy, ” Gutierrez, 33, tells The Post. “But I still have that hustler spirit.”

He learned to harness his entrepreneurial tendencies into more respectable pursuits, thanks to nonprofit organizations geared to helping ex-cons succeed.

Antwoin Gutierrez, a k a Chef Fresh
Antwoin Gutierrez, a k a Chef FreshStephen Yang

Fresh out of prison in 2011, Gutierrez joined the Doe Fund, a nonprofit that aims to break the cycle of homelessness and criminal recidivism. He went in thinking he’d earn his commercial driver’s license. Instead, the food-services head took Gutierrez under his wing and taught him how to bake, a skill similar to one he already had.

“He didn’t just give me a recipe,” Gutierrez says. “He showed me how to make it, and it was similar to what I was doing when cooking crack. It was all about mixing things and the different reactions you get with chemistry. Something just clicked.”

He went on to bake and cook in the organization’s kitchen. Soon he was working at hotels and restaurants, including Maialino and Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, all the while baking on the side and posting his creations on social media.

“I would take pictures and post them on Insta, and people were asking where they could buy [them],” he says. “I knew there was a demand.” He sharpened his business skills by participating in Defy Ventures’ CEO of Your New Life program, which is similar to “Shark Tank.”

In 2016, Gutierrez launched Fresh Taste Bakery and now sells about 500 treats a day, including his carrot-cake cookies and alcohol-infused cupcakes.

He’s made cupcakes for DJ Khaled, “America’s Next Top Model” winner Eva Marcille and the cast of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” But he’d love to bake for President Trump.

“I could learn a lot from him being his baker,” he says.

Although he has boldface devotees, his biggest fan remains his mother, Lasanja Mignotte. She loves his carrot-cake cookies — and how he’s turned his life around.

“She had me young and used to throw away my drugs. She hated me being locked up,” he says. “She told me that she can die happy. She doesn’t have to worry about me.”

Source: Thanks https://nypost.com/2020/03/11/he-used-to-sell-crack-now-he-owns-a-successful-bakery/