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Best Aspiring Homemade Cheesecake Maker 

Victor Harris at Reuschelle's Cheesecakes

In these halcyon days of chichi food-speak — "artisan" this and "organic" that — Victor Harris offers a refreshingly unpretentious dessert: the homemade cheesecake. The origins of his baking ambitions are likewise simple. Looking for something to do one night, the Oakland resident found a recipe online, ran out to buy cream cheese, and soon pulled his first cake out of the oven. That was in 2003. What began as boredom-induced pastry-making has since grown into a part-time business, Reuschelle's Cheesecakes. The menu is as eclectic as the autodidact baker, who is also a DJ and car enthusiast. Customers can now choose from nearly fifty varieties of cakes, from the mainstream (strawberry) to the delightfully unexpected (peach amaretto) and the WTF (chocolate cayenne). The most popular cheesecake, the mousse-style caramel apple, has fresh fruit in every bite, a natural balance to the sweet caramel topping. Marketing is purely grassroots. Harris will arrive at parties and events with a cake in hand, ready to win over new fans (214 Facebook friends and counting). Also, Reuschelle's Cheesecakes may soon be appearing at a local farmers' market. And for orders within a forty-mile radius of San Francisco, the baker will deliver the cheesecake himself.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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