Sweet Thing: We Chat With Duni Borga

The lady behind La Duni on baking, her littlest fans, and playing with her food

By Lisa Petty
|  Friday, Oct 30, 2009  |  Updated 9:05 AM CDT
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Sweet Thing: We Chat With Duni Borga

La Duni Restaurant

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“Where there is cake, there is love.”

A talk with Duni Borga is like a warm bite of something sweet, fresh out of the oven.  In a word, comforting. 

The lady behind La Duni is as inviting and down-to-earth as the acclaimed Dallas restaurants that bear her name.  Earlier this week, she took a moment to visit with us about the upcoming holidays, her unusual schedule and her 150 “kids”.  We also got a little insider info on the return of Aló, her popular tapas spot that closed this summer due to fire.

Read on for the details, but be warned:  This interview may spark a craving for Quatro Leches cake!

Q:  Bakers’ hours are notoriously tough.  What’s a typical day like for you?

A:  “We start at 4 o’clock in the morning and I finish about 3 or 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and then I become a mom!”

Q:  Have you always been an early riser?

A:  “As a child, I was always the first one to wake up in the morning.  But then I married a night owl.  My husband used to have night clubs in Los Angeles…I met him at one of his night clubs and we’ve been together every since.”

Q:  What makes La Duni such a great place for kids?

A:  “[Brandon] is my only child, but I have about 150 others at the restaurants.  …They call my husband Taco, ‘Dad’, and they call me ‘Mom’.  The good thing about all of our food, from baked goods to juices and everything – everything is fresh.  It’s made like you make it at home.”

Q:  What are you baking up for the holidays?

A:  “One of the things I love [personally] is the cinnamon rolls.  …They come in a pan and you just reheat them in the oven and then flip ‘em over…and all the caramel and everything [melts] over them.  It’s a fabulous bread…to have in the morning when everyone’s opening their presents.  …For Thanksgiving, we’ve always done chocolate pumpkins.”

Q:  When will Aló reopen?

A:  “We’re not sure.  …I have three insurance companies working [on] it.  …The longer they take, the longer they keep me out of business, so, the harder it is for me to actually reopen.  So, we keep trying to move it along as much as possible, but there’s [only] so much we can do when it’s completely out of our hands.

“…Two of the chefs that were at Aló ended up at the McKinney [Avenue] location.  …So, if anybody’s really missing the dishes of Aló, they can come to La Duni McKinney.”

Q:  What’s the best part of your job?

A:  “I play all day!  I play with chocolate, with meringue.  I smell fresh bread coming out of the oven.

“…I love to get up in the morning and have a fresh something right out of the oven with a cup of coffee, and that’s the way I spoil myself.  And that’s how I ended up spoiling my family, too, and now everybody else!”

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