OAKLAND, Calif. -- Whether it's milkshake-inspired cheesecake or Butterfinger cookies, dessert wizard and business owner Gregory Williams is constantly innovating in his underground bakery.
"I knew that I was going to be an entrepreneur...I didn't know it was going to be in the baking field," said Gregory. "That's how I grew up, mixing certain things together. Now, it's what I do. I get to play in my big kitchen."
Gregory's Gourmet Desserts has been Oakland's best-kept secret for over 22 years. The hidden away location is filled with everything from decadent cookies to specialty pies--plus, countless customers ready to sample Gregory's latest creations.
It all began when a local bakery stopped selling Gregory's favorite apple streusel cheesecake.
"A really good friend of mine said, 'Why don't you make it yourself,'" he said. "And she ended up buying me a cookbook and a springform pan, and I taught myself how to make that apple streusel cheesecake. And that's how I got started."
Along with developing unique treats, Gregory bakes to inspire the next generation and honor his family along the way.
"Leaving some history for my grandkids, I wanted to leave them with something," he said. "They can go, 'Grandpa did this, we can do that.'"
Gregory's grandmother, mom, and uncle are painted on the bakery's building as tribute.
"Being the first to start a business, being the first to just go for it," said Gregory. "I'm glad that I'm a positive role model to young kids that want to do it."