Andres Carriles, from Needing Dough to Kneading Dough: Faces of Hoi An

Born in Yucatán province of Mexico, Andres Carriles studied finance and acquired a degree in Business analytics. He’s is now head baker of Dingo Deli in Hoi An, Vietnam.

Whilst working in finance in Mexico he began searching for more, he sought to evolve; explore the world and himself. He travelled and landed a job in Cambodia managing a hostel. Initially passing up on the opportunity to travel with friends to Vietnam because he was content with his hostel job. Upon their return, he heard stories about coffee and café culture over the border. With that, Andres was off again, riding a motorcycle he had bought in Cambodia and traveling north through ‘Nam. In the central part of the country, the man who’s former life required him to have a detailed understanding of analyzing and managing money, ran out of it. It was time for Andres to find a job.

Andres had learned of Hoi An’s beauty from another traveller, and decided that the city would be the perfect place to settle and earn some ‘dinero’. Starting off in Hoi An, Andres worked as a bartender and then he gave massages on the beach. After a couple of months a revelation came to him whilst chowing down one day…“I love bread, [but] I didn’t know anything about bread. I just loved the idea of eating bread…When I was in Hanoi I was eating bread and I said ‘That’s it!’ I wanna make bread.”

Faces of Hoi An Andres Carilles making breadAnd so he did. He became the baker at Hoi An’s Dingo Deli, Australian inspired café and bakery. Dingo Deli bakes and sells a variety of sweet and savory goods, from loaves of bread to donuts and croissants. “My favourite thing to bake is called sourdough, here we call it ‘Artisan Bread’, ‘Artisan’ because it’s made by hand using all natural elements…Its my favourite because you can see how all the live elements in the dough [are] changing. You can see how the fermentation is going on. You can feel the dough, the structures of the dough, how they develop. You see bread as it is, and you have to understand how it works.”

This was quite a change from his life in Mexico, although he doesn’t see it as such. “I do what I want. I was doing what I want in my life…[its not a change from finance to baking] it’s just an evolution of myself. I was living this [life], I was enjoying finance, and then at some point you decide to change… Everybody has that thought [to alter their life], but they don’t develop that thought. I did develop that thought and that feeling. I carried it through. This thought came to me and I just grabbed it up. Lets see what [will] happen. I’ll surf that wave and lets see what will happen. This is when you [make] this decision, these are the decisions of your life.”

Does he miss his life in Mexico?

“No not at all, that doesn’t exist for me. No. I understand what I was leaving and I appreciate what I was leaving, but now it’s time for me. What I was leaving was privilege, but it makes me understand what I’m living now, too. I don’t miss anything, I just see life in different ways, different perspectives. In Mexico I’d say I was more stable. I was in a safe spot. I was looking for challenge; I’d say I was searching for something else aside from me. Outside of what I was doing.”

At the time this interview was written, it was Andres’ final week in Hoi An, as he is once again feeling the pull of somewhere new: Italy!

Andres Carilles and the Dingo Deli Team in Hoi An

Andres with some of the Dingo Deli team

Not that Hoi An will be forgotten by Andres: “I love the mornings. I love waking up early. Coming to work. The streets, the atmosphere here. The quiet and peaceful atmosphere Hoi An has. I love the beach. I love the locals. The language. Yeah man, I just love everything about Hoi An. The food, it’s beautiful. I will miss everything, but at the same time I know that there’s more…

Something that will never change in myself is the idea of “Keep Going”. I just know about ‘now’ and what I’m doing now and it’s taking me where I want to go… I’m going to keep baking, keep learning. That’s it. I’m going to go there [to Italy] and find out what it’s all about, what Italia has for me.” He says with a laugh.

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