Baking enthusiast Milos Paprica is Toronto’s Instagram monthly cookie giveaway champion!
“I’m being a villain in a different way” is how Milos explained the derivation behind “madvillan,” his Instagram username. “I’m not doing it in a bad way, I’m doing it in a good way,” he added.
For almost three years now, Milos Paprica, 31, has been baking and giving away his cookies to several lucky people once per month. There’s no secret recipe to what he does.
It all started with the lack of gift giving during his Christmas holidays. Since his family never celebrated Christmas by exchanging gifts, he was always left with a tenacious urge to buy gifts for others. During Christmas of 2011, he decided to buy a few items and post them on his Facebook profile with the caption: “First to comment receives this gift.” At the time, these items included an iTunes gift card, headphones and a cookbook. The response exceeded his expectations—within minutes his Facebook contacts had commented on these posts. Loving the enthusiastic response, Milos wanted to extend this beyond just during the Christmas season. He had started taking up baking as a hobby, and thought of giving away his baked goodies.
“I had a horrible first attempt at baking,” he said. “When I put the dough in the oven, everything kind of melted—it was like one big blob.”
Determined to not be defeated, he made several more attempts until he felt satisfied enough to bring them to his work.
“My coworkers at the time were my guinea pigs; they ended up giving me the confidence I needed to actually give away my cookies, since they all seemed to love them!”
With suggestions from friends, he slowly tested other social media platforms to conduct these giveaways. Initially it started with Facebook, where only his friends were able to comment and receive; he later ventured towards Instagram where anyone could follow and comment, thereby reaching a much larger audience, and because of this he now only uses Instagram.
You would expect to find him behind the counter, kneading and rolling dough, right?
“I get asked that a lot,” he told me. “’Where is your bake shop?’ or ‘How long have you been in the pastry business?’”
In fact, Milos’s career has nothing to do with baking. For the past seven years, he’s been the night stocking manager at Lowes Home Improvement. He’s been working in the retail industry since 2003, and because of his work ethics and not wanting to disappoint people, he’s been put in positions of leadership.
“I believe I’ve gotten better at managing people over the years,” he said. “But it’s still something I never thought I’d be doing. I was always the quiet one growing up.”
“His cookies were nothing but deliciousness—and free, too!” said Vanessa Baudanza, co-founder of The Rolling Pin—a delightful bakery of gourmet donuts, pies and cakes located near the Yonge and Don Mills area. “Coming from a pastry chef, that’s a big deal!”
Vanessa was one of the first lucky winners to receive his cookies, and since meeting they’ve remained close friends. She tells me how supportive and generous Milos has been throughout her dream of opening the bakery, how he always believed in her and that one day her dream would become reality.
“He deserves nothing but sweet things,” she said, “because he only gives sweetness to the city of Toronto.”
It’s been well over two years and Milos shows no signs of slowing down. Aside from giving away his homemade cookies once a month (though he tells me he also does side giveaways at times for people who’ve missed receiving the cookies beforehand), he also personally hand delivers them and takes a picture of the lucky winner with his cookies. When I met Milos for this story, he surprised me by giving me a batch. They are delicious, and with roughly 25-30 cookies per giveaway, they are meant to share with family and friends. My personal favourites were the candy cane chocolate chip cookies—yum!
His sole intent is to sweeten up someone’s day. The positivity and kindness spread by lovely people like him are what make this city wonderful.
Follow Milos on Instagram @madvillan and make sure to comment on the photos for your chance to win free cookies!
If you want to be a sponsor for these cookie giveaways, check out Milos’ tumblr page for more info: http://sweeteninguppeoplesday.tumblr.com/
Be kind to everyone, even artichokes have a heart (quote taken from the ever delightful Amelie movie)