Smith’s Bakery is known for its tasty treats, including signature smiley face cookies and decadent champagne cake.
The Smith’s location on Union Avenue is also known for 62-year-old Tony Portillo, the “King of Cakes.”
Born in Mexico City, he landed in Bakersfield 10 years ago, without a place to live, without a job, and without any experience in a bakery. Jim Balmain, the owner of Smith’s Bakery, brought him in.
“He believed in me,” said Tony Portillo.
Now, Portillo is the master baker and decorating extraordinaire behind every champagne cake sold.
“Now I’m happy because I got something. I got everything,” Portillo said.
Including a place to practice karate.
Nearly every day of the week around 7:00 a.m. you can find Portillo in front of Smith’s punching and kicking his break away.
He’s channeling his childhood hero daily— Bruce Lee.
His love of karate is making others smile.
“It just brings joy to the world,” said Jaelyn Skoviern, a 9-year-old fan.
“It always just brings a smile to my face when I see him and it’s a nice way to start my day knowing that he’s going to work enjoying his job,” said Ashleigh Rossi, another fan.
That’s exactly why he does it.
“I want to transmit to the people that life is beautiful. To start the day positive and give the job 100 percent,” Portillo said.
He’s the Karate Cake Master—Tony Portillo.
“Nobody knows my name but maybe beginning today everybody know, ‘Hey Tony,'” Portillo said.
These are the types of stories 17’s Tabatha Mills likes to tell. If you know of a story like this send an email to TabathaMills@KGET.com