Family favourites inspire shop

[attach]6943[/attach]To satisfy her sweet tooth, Andrea Mut reaches for a butter tart or chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven. As the owner of Andrea’s Gerrard Street Bakery at Gerrard and Broadview, she doesn’t have to go far for a sweet fix.

“A lot of my recipes are family recipes that are either from my dad’s side or my mom’s side or from my mother,” she says, adding she also has some recipes from her mother-in-law. “I’ve changed them a little to suit my own needs but I like to have things like nobody makes a good carrot cake anymore or nobody makes a straight up chocolate cake. It’s childhood memories, comfort food, that sort of thing.”

Coming from a line of bakers and cooks, Mut brings 20 years of industry experience to the bakery, which she opened last summer. In addition to muffins, scones, sandwiches to go, cookies, brownies, tarts and mini cakes, she also takes orders for catering and events like weddings.

“I’m not trying to do anything overly decorated or elaborate and I focus on one to two serving size cakes and desserts so that people don’t have to make such a huge commitment when they want to buy dessert,” she says. “You can either get a variety of things to serve a bunch of people or you can just have your own little cake.”

During the weekend she also offers bread from Scarborough-based Cliffside Hearth Bread Company, as she wanted to expand her selection and support another small local company.

“They’re just a tiny little business. They don’t want to do wholesale or expand,” Mut says. “Just a husband and wife and they’re like super into the quality control of their bread.”

Keeping her own business small with two employees also allows for better quality control, she says.
“You have to love what you’re doing and be passionate about what you’re doing and that comes out in the products,” she says. “That’s what makes all the difference when it comes to baking and cooking in general.”

Although Mut started out studying culinary management at George Brown, she soon realized her true passion was in pastries.
“After my first year I realized the pastry department was where I wanted to be, ” she says.

After working from her home and for other companies, the time was either now or never to open her own location and she immediately felt welcomed by the surrounding Chinese business community and local residents, which are two very different worlds, she says.

“I have such a diverse clientele here, that’s what I love the most because it’s like all walks of life walk through my door,” she says. “I get so much pleasure out of being in this neighbourhood. I get a lot of really entertaining customers.”

As for the name, Andrea’s Gerrard Street Bakery, her family and friends convinced her to use her first name since it’s easy and timeless.

“It’s part of that whole homey feeling because people come in and customers like to know that they’re speaking to Andrea, whose name is on the sign,” she says. “It makes them feel welcome, they can come in and say, ‘Hi, Andrea.’ ”