Meet the Baker: Jose Villamil, The Teaspoon Auckland

Jose Villamil is an Auckland based home baker, and the owner and director of The Teaspoon. For the past fifteen years, Villamil has been working as a nurse at Middlemore hospital in the Haemodialysis unit, but cooking has always been a passion for him. As a contestant in MasterChef in 2022, Villamil has a background in the kitchen and comes from a family of restaurateurs and bakers in the Philippines.

Villamil started baking when he was young, having worked in his grandmother’s bakery when at school. Moving to New Zealand over a decade ago, he was off work due to an injury, and his love of baking resurfaced.

“I started doing light work to keep me occupied during the day, like making cakes and baking, and my friends thought I could start a business.”

The Teaspoon was first thought of around seven years ago, and despite their being no monetary motivation behind the idea, Villamil was determined to make a name for himself in a very competitive arena.

“I love every second of being in the kitchen, whipping up cakes that clients want me to make for them, I just love what I’m doing.”

Villamil uses Filipino flavours to enrich his baking, which also helps him connect to his culture. He added that Filipino cuisine is becoming more and more popular, thanks to social platforms.

“I think society has become more open to trying things because of the internet, honestly. I see a lot of Filipino cuisine being hailed and sought out and that’s one of my main drive and goal.”

The road to opening The Teaspoon was a somewhat mountainous one. The commercial kitchen they rented was a short lived excursion due to the pandemic, and the same goes for a shop they planned to open.

“After the country went into lockdown, we felt lucky we were able to operate in the comforts of home having our house registered to do the business, it was a tough few years.”

Villamil notes that in some ways this was also a blessing, as he and his wife were able to work on their business, whilst still raising their two daughters.

Aiming to be one of New Zealand’s finest Filipino dessert houses, The Teaspoon is committed to producing products of the highest quality.

“No desserts go out of our kitchen that we wouldn’t buy ourselves or eat.”