Sunday, June 23, 2024

Francisco Flores, Tapachula baker

Thirty-eight years ago, Francisco Flores Robrero began learning the delicate craft of breadmaking. “Cakes are the hardest,” he explained, “and biscuits are the most fun because they come in so many varieties; you can never get bored.” 

From a humble family, Francisco had to find work after he finished primary school. 

A resourceful man, he found a job in Bodega Aurrera, one of the Walmart brands, where he worked for five years until he persuaded Porfilio Espinosa, an established baker in Tapachula, Chiapas, to be his mentor. 

Porfilio passed away more than 20 years ago, but Francisco is still honouring his master by producing more than 3,000 products for the bakery every week. He bakes for five hours per day, six days per week and divides his remaining time between attending to customers and supervising his two apprentices.   

Sales have decreased lately. Francisco puts it down to higher local unemployment, although he hopes that things will pick up in June. “It’s usually busier when it’s cooler,’ he explains. Francisco’s definition of “cooler” is 33 C!

There is a deep curiosity behind Francisco’s eyes and a wonderful smile that magically converts his appearance from stern seriousness to wonderful warmth. It was a face that lured me from the other side of a busy street. 

Initially cautious about why a reporter would be interested in him, by the end of our conversation he admitted that he was thrilled to have had his first real conversation with a foreigner.

Mexico News Daily

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