Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Sacred Hearts Academy  |   Honolulu, Hawaii

Ka Leo

Folding Love into Every Roll

Cassandra Morete greeting customers at the Nanding’s Bakery Kapahulu location. The Academy sophomore has been working at the family business for the past eight years. Photo by Keira Wheeler.

Sacred Hearts Academy sophomore Cassandra Morete spends her Sundays quietly loading dozens of Spanish rolls into the oven at her family’s bakery. The soft buttery pastry has become a staple of Nanding’s Bakery; just as working at this quaint establishment has become a part of the 16-year-old’s weekend routine for the past eight years. Her Sundays then continue with packing boxes of freshly-baked goods before heading to the storefront, where hungry customers wait to order and a bustling Kapahulu Avenue buzzes right outside of the bakery window.

From a young age, Morete saw how hard her family worked and wanted to contribute her time towards the business they built from the ground up.

Infographic by Keira Wheeler

“I made it a priority to help my family succeed because I wanted to give back to them,” said Morete, referring to her family moving from California when she was eight years old. It was only to start the bakery but also to ensure she and her brother had a more secure future.

Today, she says the reward comes in every roll, as Morete takes pride in carrying on her grandfather’s legacy. He started Nanding’s in the Philippines a few decades ago before her father and uncle opened the current three locations on Oahu in 2001.

According to Morete, the secret ingredient in every bakery item is passion. Her parents manage the Kapahulu bakery. Together, they helped mold the bakery, as it evolved over the years to meet the needs of customers.

During the pandemic, and to reach more customers, the bakery started a partnership with Times Supermarket. The local grocery store sells and delivers its baked goods around the island. Since then, Nanding’s has continued its success in the more than 2,400 Spanish rolls and 500 bakery items made daily. Other popular items include pan de sal, pork adobo rolls and ube-filled puff pastries.

Nanding’s Bakery employees rolling and kneading dough. The Nanding’s Kapahulu location makes 2,400 Spanish rolls a day and 500 to 700 other items. Photo by Keira Wheeler.

“I really enjoy the process and being able to make bread with my family,” said father Rollan Paez, who comes from a line of bakers. He and his siblings grew up learning the trade in the Philippines. Paez is proud to pass on this legacy to his daughter.

“I’m glad I’m able to watch her grow,” he said. “She has grown more responsible…and (I have seen) how she has progressed with the skills she’s taken in.”

For Morete, the time with family has been most valuable, even inspirational.

“What I like most about working with my family is that I get to spend time with them, as well as get to know them in a professional way up close,” she said. “Being able to watch them at the bakery makes me want to pursue my own things as well because there has not been a day where they haven’t given the bakery their all.”

Whether she’s kneading dough or cleaning up at the end of the day, Morete said she has learned a lot from working at Nanding’s Bakery.

“It benefits me (to work at the bakery),” she said. “I also feel like I am ahead (career-wise) than most people but not in a prideful way. I know what I can do and when I tackle a job that I get on my own, I’ll be able to put those skills that I’ve learned …to use.”

Starting to work at her age also has its struggles. Juggling school, work and free time, she says, can cause burnout.

“As a teen, it’s also important to manage my time,” she said. “I talk it out with my parents because I have extracurriculars…for different seasons. They are very understanding, and that is what makes it great because we meet in the middle.”

When asked if she wanted to own the bakery someday, Morete said, “I haven’t figured it out yet, but while I’m still here in Hawaii, I want to be able to support my family as best that I can.”

Bakery items fill the shelves at Nanding’s. Spanish rolls, ensamadas and ube cheese pandesal are among the most popular menu items. Photo by Keira Wheeler.
About the Contributor
Keira Wheeler
Keira Wheeler, Reporter
Keira is a second-year Journalism student and a sophomore at the Academy. She hopes that she can use her love of writing to keep others informed on important events! Keira believes that in Journalism, if you work hard and hone your craft, you'll be rewarded with opportunities and connections that'll help you in the future.
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