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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

His B&B interrupted, ‘The Shirtless Baker’ offers English muffins instead

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Dave O. Dodgehttp://www.meridabnb.com/
Dave O. Dodge is a misplaced New Englander and entrepreneur who has been a supporter of small businesses and charities his entire life. His writing has been featured in Food & Flourish, Bite, Frontdoors, Prime Living, Echo and INMexico. His current projects are “The Seasons of Grace – The unauthorized origin of Peyton Place” and a retelling of the 1960s “Betty & Barney Hill Abduction.” Dave and his husband own and operate Ochenta y Dos [an urban bed & breakfast} and #82adventures, a private excursion company specializing in the Yucatan. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
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If anyone would have told Patrick Greenwood, aka “The Shirtless Baker,” 10 years ago that he would be in Mexico starting yet another business he would have balked at that notion. Fast forward 1,889 days later and he has become a social media success in the Yucatan with his Homemade English Muffins.

“I have always baked,” he says. “When the bed & breakfast was up and running I was always in the kitchen.”

A self-taught cook and a real pleaser of his guests’ palate, Patrick would create his daily creations he calls appetizers for his bed & breakfast’s signature happy hour. 

Over the past five years, Ochenta y Dos [an urban bed & breakfast] in Col. Santiago has received guests from around the world, along with numerous recognitions for he and his husband’s brand of hospitality and community involvement.

“Our business was vibrant, and we were about to end our fifth and most successful season when an unexpected guest arrived,” Greenwood explains. “COVID had caught the world off guard and our business came to screeching halt.” 

Ochenta y Dos shuttered their doors back in March, ironically on Patrick’s birthday. “Such a nice present,” he adds with a chuckle.

With the prospects of a retirement that was not expected, he started to bake as a way of keeping busy and as a much-needed distraction from the doom and gloom we were all facing through the news.

Baking was a hobby of sorts, and an avid lover of online cooking sites he started to learn more about his craft. Inspiration can come from many sources, but cooking for friends sealed the deal.

“I just started,” he says. “First it was bread, I even made my own crackers.”

But his Homemade English Muffins were not only unique, but tasted as good as they looked. “Friends loved them,” recalls Greenwood. “They encouraged me to make more, so I did.”

The Shirtless Baker was born and he hasn’t looked back.

“I’m shirtless because its hot in the kitchen,” he explains. All of his products are handcrafted and made to order with the help of his assistant, Norman. Every other week the kitchen is off limits to his husband, friends and maybe one-day B&B guests.

“I’m very organized, when we are making upwards of 1,000 muffins, synergy is key.”

Patrick, a native New Englander, hails from northern New Hampshire. His humble start has given him his style of baking, creating comfort food not readily available here in Mexico.

“I love making my Honey Corn Bread Mini Loafs,” he said. “It’s a taste from my childhood.” Other items with a truly Yankee twist are his Homestyle Baking Powder Biscuits and his Auntie’s Favorite Dinner Rolls. Both recipes were handed down and tweaked to adapt to the climate here.

His intention was not to start a business in the middle of a pandemic; “It just happened,” he says. COVID has altered many marketing strategies for small businesses, The Shirtless Baker had to be creative and resourceful.

He bakes every other week with a keen eye on the amounts. “I don’t want a lot of extras,” he says. The muffins can be frozen and his tasters sometimes cannot tell the difference. When asked what was next for him, he got rather excited to announce that the perfect “Artisan Vegan English Muffin” was being offered this week in two flavors.

All his products are pre-ordered through Facebook and are delivered to the beach area every other Wednesday to Bears en la Playa Bed & Breakfast for pickup and on Fridays in Centro at his own bed & breakfast on Calle 82.

His success has been a bit unexpected and will ride the wave for as long as there is a demand for fresh, handcrafted products. He closed with, “I just love to bake.”

For more information on his products and to pre-order, visit The Shirtless Baker on Facebook for the complete menu, schedules and prices.

For more information on his Bed & Breakfast go to www.meridabnb.com.

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