This chef went viral on TikTok. Now everyone wants to try the 'best cheesecake in Arizona'
Anthony Osuna woke up on the morning of March 4 to his phone buzzing. He glanced at the phone's screen, which read 3 a.m., and to his surprise, along with missed calls, he had hundreds of notifications from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and a handful of text messages — some from friends and family, even more from strangers.
They all wanted a taste of his cheesecake.
Ever since, chef Osuna a.k.a. The Cheesecake Guy has been busy filling orders and feeding the masses with what many are calling "Arizona's best cheesecake."
For now, all of Osuna’s cheesecakes are baked himself in his home kitchen. But he dreams of expanding to a full business soon.
Who is 'The Cheesecake Guy'?
Osuna, who grew up in and still lives in Peoria, has always loved to cook. From the age of 6, he said he remembers spending a lot of time in the kitchen with his mom. Whenever she would introduce to him a new snack or dessert, he wanted to learn how to make them. In high school, he took all the culinary classes his school offered and participated in local Iron Chef competitions for fun.
"From that point on, I just really had a huge passion for being in the kitchen. But right now, I would say my biggest passion is making cheesecake," Osuna said.
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Creating the ideal cheesecake
He started making cheesecake as a hobby because it's his favorite dessert. His current recipe took approximately three months of research and at least six months of practice to perfect — it involved a lot of trial and error before he felt satisfied with the final result.
Finding the perfect texture took him the longest time, but it paid off. Now, Osuna's exceptionally creamy and rich cheesecake stands out against the competition.
He started his business small, selling primarily to his friends and neighbors in Peoria and via Instagram under the simple username "The Cheesecake Guy." He baked out of his home and posted on Instagram to let fans know what flavors were available for sale on a given day.
"One of my buddies who actually gave me the idea to sell cheesecakes, his son, very little, was screaming when I came over with a cheesecake. He was like, 'the cheesecake guy, the cheesecake guy!' And so from that point on, I became the cheesecake guy. The name came from a little kid," Osuna said.
Making cheesecakes was a side hustle for Osuna until December 2022, when an injury forced him to leave his job as a behavioral health technician at a residential treatment center and he began making cheesecakes full time.
Before the first video about his cheesecake went viral in March, Osuna said he averaged four or five cheesecake orders a day. Osuna's requests for orders shot up by more than 2000%, overnight, all thanks to TikTok.
Now he gets anywhere from 80-100 orders, sometimes more, on a daily basis.
From baker next door to viral TikTok sensation
On March 3, TikTok user @d_rex1984 posted a video praising Osuna's cheesecake. The video shows her in her kitchen eating Osuna's strawberry crumble cheesecake while positively gushing over the taste, presentation and affordability of the cheesecake. The TikTok video garnered over 2 million views and more than 300,000 likes.
The next day, she posted a follow-up video stating that she was a regular customer of Osuna's and also recommended his banana cream cheesecake, calling it her "absolute favorite."
"It was very overwhelming for the first 24 hours or so. Because I was just trying to understand, you know, why was I suddenly so popular?" Osuna said. "I wake up, look at my phone, and I have like, hundreds of messages from everywhere. You know, I'm trying to figure out where's it even coming from, because I didn't even have my TikTok notifications turned on because I just never went on (the app)."
Osuna didn't only get messages from Arizonans. The TikTok video had reached the "for you" pages of cheesecake lovers all around the globe.
"I had people on the other end of the country like Boston saying 'hey, you need to ship out here!' People from Milwaukee, people from Washington, California, Texas... it even got as far as Australia, the U.K., Canada. People from all over were messaging me saying 'you need to ship out here.' I don't even know how I will," Osuna said.
For a one-man business making cheesecakes in his own home kitchen, overnight fame brings with it a new set of challenges.
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What's next for The Cheesecake Guy?
On March 14, Osuna posted a notice on Instagram that he was looking to hire a personal assistant to help him keep up with orders. In addition to hiring some additional help, Osuna said he hopes to eventually open a storefront where people can order cheesecakes or pick one up on the spot.
"I never expected to blow up and get to a point where I actually need a shop and a place to do all of this because of the demand. It's just so huge. Everything's running through my head, like, where am I going to place all these orders? How am I going to successfully be efficient in this business?" Osuna said.
Osuna does not have a storefront yet, and may not have one for some time. His website, azcheesecakeguy.com, is still in its earliest stages of construction.
But The Cheesecake Guy is still just getting started.
"It's definitely a blessing to have this kind of exposure," Osuna said.
Supporting himself with just his cheesecake business had been a dream of Osuna's for several years and now he said it feels like a reality.
Try the viral cheesecake from The Cheesecake Guy
Osuna offers over two dozen cheesecake flavors including original, strawberry crumble, animal cracker, brownie chocolate chip, pumpkin and churro. They come in 16-ounce cups ($10), 7-inch rounds ($30) or 9-inch rounds ($50). Orders must be placed at least 24 hours in advance.
The Cheesecake Guy is a home-based business in Peoria. Customers must be able to pick up their cheesecake from his home near 75th Avenue and Peoria Road. To place an order, customers can call or text 602-883-5930 or visit azcheesecakeguy.com.
Details: 602-883-5930, @thecheesecakeguy on Instagram.
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Reach the reporter at email@example.com. Follow @EndiaFontanez on Twitter.
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