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Delicious dreams: “Thank God I’m finally doing what I love most,” says Puerto Rico-born Pagancoss, who worked as a pharmaceutical rep and went to medical school before dropping it all to pursue his dream project, sweets delivery company Harry Bakes, in 2008. Gourmet ambition: “Food is about sensory impressions. It’s about life, celebrations and making memories,” says Pagancoss, 35, who has parlayed his baking company into a career as a television personality (he’s a regular guest on Despierta América and the CW’s Morning Show), blogger, author (he’s currently writing a cookbook, Pure Pleasure: 111 Ways to Say Ñam) and—eventually, he hopes— owner of a coffee shop and bakery in South Beach, from which he can host his own television show. Add a dash of Harry and stir: So far, Pagancoss’ culinary claims to fame include mouthwatering cookies and cakes, including one made of coconut cream and Italian meringue, a red velvet cake with caramelized walnuts, and—his favorite— the dense chocolate torte, drizzled with a layer of roasted pecans, toffee and rose-petal mascarpone cream. “I like textures, and between the stickiness of the toffee, the crunchiness of the walnuts and the soft cake, it’s just fantastic,” he says. “The way I see it, food in all forms already exists, so it’s not about inventing anything. I just have to add a little funky twist to make it my own.” —Suzy Buckley
JUST THE FACTS:
Favorite splurge food: Hot wings rule! I like them very hot, and with beer. I only stop when my lips are swelled up because of the heat.
Favorite singers of all time: Billie Holiday and João Gilberto
Now playing on your iPod: Shirley Bassey’s “Get the Party Started”
Music group you’re embarrassed to admit you loved: Menudo
Best film you’ve seen lately: Julie & Julia
photography by cara bloch (materazzi); kate benson (mejia); paul perdomo (pagancoss)
Watch our behind-the-scenes footage from Brazilian bombshell Alessandra Ambrosio's Ocean Drive photo shoot.