REDIRECTION: Cebuano Baker Finds New Opportunities After Losing Chance To Work Abroad
The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a positive redirection for baker Marlo Lidot, who started to have a name in creating unique artisan breads.
For Marlo Lidot, 2020 was to be a big year.
A part of Cebu’s hospitality industry as a baker, Lidot received an offer to work in Maldives two years ago. His dream to lead a life abroad would finally come true.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic happened. Before he knew it, Lidot was one of the millions of Filipinos stuck at home, and he found his opportunity to fly overseas gone in a flash.
The pandemic, however, proved to be a positive redirection. While trying to determine how to earn while under lockdown, Lidot decided to create his own artisan breads – armed with passion and nine years of experience.
“What happened was I created my own concept to make extra income. Doing something from the heart, as well as from God’s grace, made it possible for me to come up with (unique creations),” Lidot told The Philippine STAR / OneNews.PH in Filipino on Monday, April 3.
Originating from France, artisan breads have short shelf-life, ideally consumed immediately for maximum freshness. Because of less controlled processes used, no two artisan breads are the same.
Unlike the ones abroad, Lidot’s breads have designs, which range from images of private clients and public figures to biblical characters and illustrations.
“Since I was at home, I just created and experimented on my own oven. Being in the hotel industry for nine years, I tried to make sure that the quality and process was the same as hotel standards,” Lidot said.
According to Lidot, timing is key in creating artisan breads, especially with the design aspect.
He recounted making so many tries before “I eventually got the right tempo, timing, temperature as well as the dough rising.”
“Your bread will not taste well if you do not let the dough rest and you do not know the right measurements,” Lidot stressed.
Lidot explained that one artisan bread would take an hour to an hour and a half to make so he had to be patient and focused. He said these were only two of the essential traits he had to possess to be efficient. Only five or six breads can be created daily due to the stringent processes.
Each bread would cost around P900 with ingredients and packaging considered, along with the customers’ budget, Lidot said.
In its peak last 2020 to 2021, Lidot recalled earning up to P20,000 during December, but admitted that sales were not consistent in most months.
He also noted that he was the only one running his business.
“It was all me. I was the one who did the costing, marketing, as well as the selling. I was stressed at that time but I genuinely enjoyed what I was doing,” Lidot said.
Aside from having a business built on passion, Lidot’s artisan breads gave him exposure.
In 2020 and 2021, he saw himself featured on the United Kingdom-based magazines “Cakes and Sugarcraft” and “Mini Bakers,” respectively, which he called “unexpected achievements.”
Lidot also saw himself noticed by politicians such as Vice President and Education Secretary Sara
Duterte as well as providing a Mother’s Day bread for former vice president Leni Robredo.
“Of course, it’s an honor and an achievement for me, as someone who used to be a fan, someone who used to watch them on TV and listen to them on radio. I did not expect that they would even see or receive what I did for them,” Lidot said, referring to the politicians.
Lidot also wished to meet former president Rodrigo Duterte, who was the first model for his unique artisan breads.
‘Keep the fire burning’
Lidot's artisan bread business is inactive for now after being available from July 2020 to October 2022.
He is currently in Bohol as a pastry chef as he needs a regular job now that the situation is normalizing.
Lidot said he is currently saving up to put up a small business and hopefully, turn his artisan breads into a full-time venture.
“This is how life goes. It’s not always smooth that’s why I opted to work again. Of course, my goal to have a business is still there. A small one would do and that should be enough to sustain my artisan breads,” Lidot said.
For now, he plans to simply be an inspiration for bakers or aspiring ones through his Facebook page where his past and current works are posted.
As Lidot waits for the time for him to create his unique breads again, he only has this to say: “Keep the fire burning.”
He can only be thankful for his artisan breads giving him exposure, as well as a stepping stone to do so much more as a baker.
“The name I made on social media, in the country, my works, these are things that people, especially my clients will not easily forget. They even send me private messages to ask if I still accept orders, but I’m really just waiting for the time I can fund a business. I’m certain we’ll get there,” Lidot said.