"There is nothing sweeter than family. And I want others to enjoy these treats as much as my family and I do."
A friend asked me to describe myself and my business for her blog. What I was most proud of and why I chose the path I am on. This is what I told her...
Hiiieeee, I’m Jon-James Leonardo. I like spending time at the beach, watching movies, learning about different cultures and most of all... baking.
I am the owner, creator and chef of @leonardoughs, which I officially started doing in 2016. I went to Le Cordon Bleu Culinary arts school and graduated in 2009.
After graduating, I worked. A lot. And put a lot of my time into growing other peoples businesses and restaurants when all I really wanted, was to do something for myself. But I was, and still am, scared of building a business of my own. The thought of failure terrifies me, but add money into it and that’s just adding more fuel to the fear.
You see, I don’t come from a family of money. I have a mother who worked overtime almost everyday of my childhood without any complaints to provide for me, my brother and my sister. My dad had to stop working due to a disability and that’s when she really picked up the slack. All of my 80 hours a work week running restaurants, I owe to her. She made me the worker bee that I am today because at a young age she taught me to have a strong and positive will.
I fell in love with cooking at a young age. Watching my grandmother cook for a family of 7. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was like watching a beautiful symphony. She always sang while she cooked so that’s my best analogy haha. I’d remember helping her roll little home made egg rolls we called lumpia and we’d just sit at that kitchen table filling and wrapping for what felt like minutes, but in all actuality was a good hour or so. But I enjoyed every minute of it.
My sister came up with my company name. Leonardoughs. Which is a play on our families last name, Leonardo and dough. Clever girl. And throughout my four years of baking and making desserts and cakes. My most favorite thing I have ever made is one that most people don’t even think of when it comes to desserts.
Brownies. Fudge brownies.
I worked at a cafeteria where I made these pretty frequently, and it always felt like work. The moment I started doing them for myself, I learned to appreciate how simple, but how flavorful they can be.
Not light enough to be a cake, not fudgy enough to be chocolate. They’re a perfect blend of a fudgy, dense cake. Not too sweet. I’ve learned to use dark cocoa powder in my fudge brownies and balance the sweetness in the dough and the toppings! There’s so many toppings I can do for these fudge brownies, but my all time favorite has got to be, s’mores.
It is one of my most popular flavors not just to the crowd I sell to, but to me as well. I love making s’mores brownies because they remind me of days when I’d go to the beach to have bonfires with friends and loved ones growing up. Days of family outings where s’mores was always an option. Our childhood is sometimes, something we forget. But I remember all of that joy and happiness whenever I make these little guys. And I hope that one day everyone can try them and feel as much joy and happiness as I do.
Brownies are definitely an underrated dessert. But I am always rooting for the underdog.