Rosa Porto, the baker and Cuban émigré who founded the popular Porto’s Bakery & Café chain in Southern California with her family, died Friday, according to the business’s Instagram page. She was 89.
“I learned by breaking eggs and from necessity,” Rosa Porto was quoted in the Times as saying. “I started baking the cakes for my kids, and since they were pretty, my neighbors started asking me to make cakes for them.”
Porto came from Manzanillo, Cuba. After Fidel Castro took power on the island in 1959, Porto lost her job as a manager at a cigar distributor, and her husband, Raul, was sent to a labor camp. Porto, who had grown up learning the recipes of her Spanish-born mother, supported her family by making and selling brandy-soaked sponge cakes, though Castro’s regime forbade private citizens from owning businesses.
After years on a wait list, Porto and her family were allowed to leave Cuba in the early 1970s. They arrived flat broke in Los Angeles, where Raul got a job as a janitor and Rosa baked and sold cakes from home for neighbors and fellow Cuban immigrants.
Read the full story on LATimes.com.
View this post on Instagram
It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Porto’s Bakery founder and Porto family matriarch, Rosa Porto. She passed peacefully yesterday at the age of 89 surrounded by her loving husband and family. Rosa was an incredible woman who started Porto’s humbly from her home kitchen selling cakes and pastries to friends and family while simultaneously being an extraordinary wife and mother to her three children. Later, when in her late 60’s, Rosa stepped back from the family business she had started to focus her love and passion on raising her seven grandchildren. There was no greater sense of joy and pride for Rosa than her grandchildren and soon to be great grandchild. To all of our family, friends, and guests from across our communities: though there are no words that can convey our sadness at this time, we would like to express our sincere gratitude for all the love and kindness you have shown us throughout the years.