Staff Spotlight: Meet Carlos
Get to know History Buff and Head Baker of Century Bakery, Carlos Aparicio.
Written by Annalisa Ciro
Over the past 12 years, Carlos Aparicio has climbed the ranks at Century Bakery, a staple of his hometown of Bridgeton and soon-to-be job training program for disconnected youth in Cumberland County. While he started out simply working the machines, he has operated in his role as head baker for the past four years—and has loved every minute of it.
Becoming a baker was never in his plans, though; in fact, Carlos never even considered baking or culinary arts as a profession or a hobby before Century.
A World War II fanatic, Carlos joined the Century team fresh out of high school as a part-time employee with plans of becoming a history teacher. The more time spent at the bakery, though, the more he understood that doing something as small as baking a pastry can brighten someone’s day. Working with Century, Carlos realized that he enjoys making people happy, no matter how small his impact is.
“What I do here does make an impact,” says Carlos, with confidence. “It’s the satisfaction of making a small impact on people’s lives. Sometimes you’re having a rough day and you want a pastry to cheer you up—that’s where I come in.”
But the self-proclaimed “history nerd” could not have imagined this new path without the guidance of the bakery’s late owner, Wayne Ernst. Wayne took Carlos under his wing and the wisdom he imparted extended past cake-baking and industrial mixing machines.
Now everything that comes out of Century runs through Carlos first, and everything he creates flows from his mind to his hands, with no need for handwritten recipes to jog his memory. The bakery has become a part of him—his work, second nature—and he plays no favorites when it comes to baking preferences (though he admits to having overindulged to the delicious half and half fries twice a day in the past, which he now limits himself to two per year!).
Whether a cruller addict or a history enthusiast, Century holds a place in the hearts of the entire community. The bakery is a vital organ for the city of Bridgeton—a place where children gobble up dinosaur cookies and adults reminisce over donuts bursting with buttercream filling—and Carlos is gratified to play a fundamental role in the happiness inspired by Century Bakery.
You can also learn more about Hopeloft's work with Century Bakery here!