Chef Kevyn Pratt was hanging out with his fiancée Rache Josey one week after Baha Mar closed its doors due to COVID-19 back in March, when she expressed that she had a hankering for cinnamon buns and asked whether he had a recipe to make some for her. The executive chef at Royal Blue Tavern set about satisfying his fiancée’s craving – because nothing beats a big, fluffy, soft cinnamon bun, slathered in glaze and fresh out of the oven.
Of course, before the savory chef went into the kitchen to satisfy her craving, he didn’t fail to let his fiancée know that he didn’t need a recipe to create the pastry she craved.
“I said, ‘I don’t need a recipe ‘cause I is a chef.’ I can just make it out of my head. I can do pastry well, also.”
Pratt went into his kitchen and whipped up a batch of cinnamon buns that his fiancée loved, and that were so impressive that he even impressed himself, and decided to share what he’d done on social media. He made a post on Instagram, and cinnamon bun lovers began bombarding him with requests for his cinnamon buns.
That was the birth of Bella Buns cinnamon rolls – exactly four months ago.
He’s moved beyond offering just cinnamon to buns flavored with guava – which he said has become a top seller, Oreo, chocolate and caramel, which people can take to the next level with the addition of nuts; or you can opt for the variety pack.
And he’s not offering just any buns; Pratt’s Bella Buns are massive – at least five inches of gooey, yet not too sweet, pastry goodness.
“You get a bang for your buck,” says Pratt of the size of his buns.
And then there’s the fact that people just can’t seem to get enough of his cinnamon buns.
“I had some people who ate a whole pan in a day. A lot of people have told me they ate the whole pan in one day, and ask whether they get another two pans right away.”
The chef has also seen his buns move from being ordered by individuals to being retailed singly in a number of service stations – Shell, Prince Charles; Rubis, Thompson Boulevard; On the Run, South Beach; and Esso, Village Road; as well as Manuelo’s restaurant, Village Road.
Pratt supplies the outlets at least twice per week and is currently in talks with other outlets that would like to retail his buns.
He got into his first service station after the owner tasted his buns, and requested Pratt make some to retail there. He then approached other service station owners who felt the buns would do well in their stations and quickly found himself branching out.
Pratt bakes his cinnamon buns to order. He adopted a three-day baking rotation – Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – but at times finds himself baking every day to supply the demand, because people can’t seem to get their fill of his buns.
Pratt says he can produce as many buns as he needs to in a day, and sometimes finds himself baking all day.
For the chef, who also has a degree in pastry arts from Johnson & Wales, baking his cinnamon buns also allows him to fill a creative outlet, with Baha Mar not scheduled to reopen until the fall.
The pandemic also threw a “monkey wrench” at his love for travel and competition with the canceling of the Taste of the Caribbean and embassy chefs’ competition in Washington, D.C., which he was to attend with fellow Chef Jamal Small.
“There was a lot of stuff that I was supposed to do. I like competitions because I like to stay busy, but we just did not get to do it. COVID shut down a lot of things,” he said.
As for how he came up with the name Bella Buns, it’s simple – his pet name for his fiancée is bella, the Spanish word for beautiful.
“I call my fiancée ‘Miss Beautiful’ and I was making buns [for her], so I said ‘beautiful buns’ and that was it – Bella Buns.”
In the COVID-19 era, with Pratt not making his full salary, the sale of his cinnamon buns also helps to supplement what income he has coming in to ensure he stays on top of his bills.
Pratt can be contacted at email@example.com, @bellabunsbah on Facebook, @bellsbunsbah on Instagram or by telephoning 801-6762.