10 Things Ruru Baked’s Luanne Ronquillo Can’t Live Without
Luanne Ronquillo, founder of small-batch custard-based ice cream producer Ruru Baked, has always been inspired by people, food and experiences. At the peak of the pandemic, she started doing “drops” on Instagram for people to buy limited-edition pints of various ice cream flavours such as Vietnamese coffee, pandan and banoffee pie. Ruru Baked quickly took off with about 350 pints selling out in under five minutes each week. Due to its popularity, Ronquillo decided to scale up and open up her first ice cream shop in the west end of Toronto. Since the launch of her first store, she has collaborated with major brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Nike, The Kickback, Soho House Toronto and more.
Now, with a new location in Pacific Mall in Markham, Ont., Ronquillo continues to expand her brand, collaborating with other businesses through their upcoming Ruru + Friends Market, serving up more Ruru Baked merchandise such as T-shirts, hoodies and tote bags, as well as catering events. She now has a team of 18 people working to produce ice cream daily, and in June of this year, Ruru Baked reached a milestone of 100,000 Shopify orders since they started using the service in January 2021.
Here are the 10 sources of inspiration that keep Ronquillo motivated to lead her growing business and come up with new unique ice cream flavours.
My Favorite Murder
At the peak of the pandemic, Ronquillo listened to My Favorite Murder when she was working long days making ice cream alone. She’s listened to every single episode since the podcast was recommended to her. “I hate horror, but I love listening to true crime,” she says.
Dare to Lead
As a business owner, Ronquillo often turns to Brene Brown’s Dare to Lead when she feels like she needs guidance with her leadership role. “In terms of fiction, right now, I’m reading the Game of Thrones series and loving it,” says Ronquillo. “I’m also a stan for Harry Potter and tend to read these books when I need something comfortable and familiar.”
Ronquillo says having AirPods has been a game changer for listening to things while working, doing chores or exercising. “Am I one of those annoying people with my AirPods in all the time? Probably.”
Ruru Baked Hoodies
Ronquillo swears by her Ruru Baked hoodies. “I love the fit. It’s baggy, slouchy and super comfortable,” she says. “It’s just a basic Gildan Heavy Cotton hoodie, but it’s soft and feels lived in, which I love.”
Having family in both Singapore and Japan, Ronquillo has a penchant for both places. “Probably some of the best food I’ve had anywhere in the world is in Singapore,” she says. “From hawker stands to fine dining, they have it all. My family has a pretty well-known duck rice and porridge shop in Whampoa Hawker Centre, so I like to go there when we visit.” As for Japan, Ronquillo also raves about the food she’s had during her visits. “I really haven’t had a meal I didn’t like there. In each city, there’s something delicious.”
Onigiri & Hainanese Chicken Rice
When it comes to food she enjoys closer to home, onigiri and Hainanese chicken rice are a go-to for Ronquillo. “For me, onigiri is the perfect snack. It’s handheld, so it’s easy to eat on the go and is the perfect amount of food,” she says. “Hainanese chicken rice is a classic and the national dish of Singapore. My family used to only eat this on special occasions until I realized how easy it was to make.”
Ronquillo drinks an average of two to three bubble teas a week. “When I’m working at our Pacific Mall location, I’ll sometimes have two in a day,” she says. “There’s something about chewing on something while drinking that is very appealing to me.”
The French-Swiss pastry chef Amaury Guichon has become one of Ronquillo’s inspirations. “I used to love working with chocolate while in school, but I haven’t done that much with it in recent years, so when I see him post on Instagram about a new sculpture he’s done and see the time and detail he puts into each piece, it really inspires me to do better,” says Ronquillo. “His chocolate sculptures are wild. I’d love to take his pastry class in Vegas one day.”
The K-pop band has been on repeat for the Ruru Baked founder. “My favourite song by them is SuperShy,” says Ronquillo. “Their music is so fun, and they always have great choreography in their videos. It’s great for working—and working out.”
Her Dogs, Wigmund and Ozwyn
Ronquillo loves having her two dogs—Wigmund, who is a Pug mixed with a bit of Bichon, and Ozwyn, a Boston Terrier/English Bulldog mix—for their unconditional love and companionship. “I just love being around them, taking them for walks and seeing them have fun and play—plus I always have a cuddle buddy,” says Ronquillo. “They bring me endless amounts of joy. I always say that when they pass, I’m going to taxidermy them. People think I’m joking, but I’m not.”