As a little girl, Jan Campos used to break a black and white cookie in half, eat the vanilla side herself, and share the chocolate side with her father. This memorable and long-lasting tradition between a father and daughter was an act of love.
Campos, a third generation baker, said her family has a history with love. Her grandparents, parents, sister and herself all found love in bakeries.
Food is a universal love language that bridges connections — having the unique ability to bring people a shared sense of love and comfort. Whether it’s romantic, familial or celebratory, desserts like cakes are centerpieces that encourage togetherness. Delicious Bakery is a place deeply-rooted in family ties and traditions that extend outward to its employees and customers.
Delicious Bakery was originally founded in 1960. Campos and her husband, Martin Campos, took ownership of the bakery in 2001.
Her earliest memory of sweets was when she was 3 years old at her grandparents’ bakery. She remembers learning how to make cookies from scratch.
“My grandpa would get me up on the workbench, and he would give me a piece of dough and I would roll it out myself,” Campos said. “He let me cut the cookies out and put sprinkles on each and every one.”
From her grandfather to her father, the love that came with baking and sweets was passed down to Campos in every moment — small and large.
For as long as Campos could remember, she always had dessert in the house, and because her family was immersed in the world of baking, there was always a bag with treats, made from love, at arm’s length.
“I just always remember there being a white bag in our kitchen,” Campos said. “My dad would bring something home every night.”
Campos’ admiration for her father and his love for baking was infectious; it was something special that bonded them.
“My dad was passionate and that made me passionate,” Campos said. “He used to take me from 8 years old to workshops, bakery shows, contests and conventions. I always went with him. It was our thing.”
The employees of Delicious Bakery feel the love that has lasted throughout generations.
Magaly Cornejo started working at the bakery when she was 16 years old as a cashier, and later moved on to become a cake decorator with the encouragement of Campos.
Cornejo said the bakery operates less like a business and more like a family.
“The owner is like a second mom to me,” Cornejo said. “She’s known me since I was small. She and her husband were my godparents at my quinceañera. I know I’m her employee, but we have love for each other. We’re more than just employees and coworkers here — we’re family.”
Like Campos, Cornejo bonded with her father through the business, sharing special moments that otherwise wouldn’t exist if not for the bakery.
Cornejo’s dad has worked as a baker at Delicious Bakery for 20 years. When she started her position as a cake decorator, she found herself learning more than just the ropes of cake decorating on-the-job, she also discovered more layers to her dad.
She said she felt closer to her mom growing up, because she saw her father as strict and serious. But since working with each other, their relationship has transformed.
“Before, we didn’t talk much, because we didn’t have much to talk about,” Cornejo said. “But now that we work together, we communicate more. I definitely met a different side of him. He’s so cool. He’s funny, he jokes around here and it has helped us connect as a family. I really appreciate the bond we’ve developed over the years.”
Campos said she loves knowing that her bakery does what most people don’t — make everything by hand. That’s where the love comes from, from the people. This connection cannot be achieved with a machine.
“The most rewarding part is starting everyday from scratch, because we don’t do anything from mixes,” Campos said. “All the breads are made from scratch — from the flour, water, salt and yeast. The same thing with the pastries, every little piece of pastry is made by hand and then baked fresh every day. The only machine we use is to roll out dough.”
Campos said it’s sad to see mom-and-pop bakeries, like Porto’s Bakery & Cafe, lose some of the love that comes from handmade batches because of mass production.
“When you start mass producing, it changes things,” Campos said. “The love gets lost.”
Generations of customers can feel and taste the love that’s baked into Delicious Bakery’s sweets and that’s why they keep returning, even if it’s for a single item.
“We have special kinds of customers,” Campos said. “People who shop here, they’re not going to shop at Costco or shop at Vons. A man walked out with just one little piece of pastry — one — but he came all the way here to get it. He had to get in his car, drive here, find a place to park, just to get one thing.”
Jessica Estrada, the assistant manager, has been working at the bakery for 16 years. Her mom, dad, sister, cousin and grandfather have all worked at the bakery.
Estrada said the connection between employees and customers in the bakery feels intimate.
“It feels like home,” Estrada said. “The customers that come in know me and I know them. We have people that always come back.”
Campos said coming to the bakery is often a family tradition, and the love from a child’s first cookie can leave a lasting impression, contributing to a new generation of love.
“We have parents that came in as babies with their parents or their grandparents, so when the babies come in, we give them all cookies,” Campos said. “I think that’s such a special experience.”