Join me in welcoming Nanette Torrente to ANC today. She and Zenaida Valledor-Torrente have opened a pop-up, take-out business, “Cuban Galz” that makes and sells Cuban food, empanadas, pastries and sandwiches. You can find their pop-up restaurant at Sizzle’s Commercial Kitchen in downtown Redding. I had the opportunity to buy some of their pastries last summer, and thought they were delicious. They offer a range of items, like empanadas with different fillings, and assorted pastries, sandwiches, and even flan for dessert. I wanted to know more about them and their business.
Q: Welcome to ANC, Nanette, and thanks for taking time from baking and opening your new business to chat with me. First, can you tell me a little about you and your business partner?
My wife and I have been together for 13 years. We are both from Miami, Florida, born in the late ’60s to Cuban immigrants. My background is in business with a Masters in business administration. Working as a controller entailed long hours with high pressure. I ended up being hospitalized in late 2014 due to stress and decided to sell our home and move to Northern California in search of a more peaceful life. February of 2015 we purchased our current home on a couple of acres in Happy Valley and have been working from home as an online bookkeeper.
Zenaida, aka Z, has always worked in the medical field. She graduated as an x-ray technician, but enjoyed working in administrative management positions where she had more interaction with her patients. She is the shy one at first, but very outgoing once she knows you.
Q: I found you and Cuban Galz on Facebook last winter where I saw photos of your Cuban pastries, and then scrolled back and found that you’ve been baking, selling and delivering your specialty Cuban foods since the previous summer. I can’t believe I just found you! What led to this business idea? How is it being received?
Z began baking pastries early 2016 as we missed our Cuban treats from back home. By the end of the year, we began giving them away for free as our appreciation to our local friends and community within Redding and Anderson and have continued to do so. (Anderson Veterinarians, All Propane Gas Co, Clear Creek Water, Anderson post office, our friends etc.) Due to overwhelming request for more, almost two years after we began giving them away as gifts, we decided to open our company.
We officially became Cuban Galz, LLC, a day before the Carr Fire. We began offering our treats for sale, with free weekend deliveries in November of last year until we would get a physical location.
As for the name, we knew we wanted to include the word “Cuban” in the name to distinguish us from other Latin foods offered. Since the cook and owner’s name is Z, and we are two girls, we came up with changing the “s” in gals, hence “Z” in Galz.
Q: I ordered an assortment of your pastries, which you delivered. They were delicious. Can you describe what you offer? And what is it about Cuban pastries that make them unique? What are your personal favorites?
We offer a variety of Cuban pastries, as well as sandwiches and desserts. What makes us unique is first and foremost items are home-cooked as neither of us are chefs or have any culinary experience. Additionally, the closest Cuban food available is hours away.
While my favorite pastry is the Guava & cheese, Z prefers the meat.
Your plan is to have an actual bakery that’s open to the public. How’s that process going? What’s your timeline?
We found a commercial kitchen, Sizzle’s, at 1440 Placer Street in downtown Redding where we’ll do pop-up and take-out service.
Our first soft opening is on Thurs., Aug 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Right now we have limited items and quantities as we grow our business. We will be announcing the items being offered, as well as future dates and time via our website, cubangalz.com Facebook and Instagram (@cubangalz)
Our immediate goal is to offer the community different items on each of our pop-up dates until we get a better understanding of what the community enjoys most.
Q: I’m excited for you, and for north staters who’ll have an opportunity to try your food. Thanks, again. Is there anything else you’d like us to know?
We would like to emphasize we are not professionals. We promise to provide good food and service as best we can.
We are a two-person team with no experience in this field but with an overwhelming desire to offer Cuban treats to our community. We will get better with each event.
I have no doubt you’ll do just fine. Best of luck to you, Z and Cuban Galz.