Baking vegan goodies

Owner says many don’t know her treats are dairy-free

Although Victoria Vaccher’s new bakery is vegan, she doesn’t advertise that tidbit on the outside of her bakeshop.

“I feel like that kind of scares people away sometimes or they feel like that food is something they don’t understand,” she says, adding she wants customers to enjoy the goods regardless of whether or not they know everything is dairy free.

“I want people to know that it’s real food and there’s no chemicals and no preservatives.”

Since opening Tori’s Bakeshop on Queen Street East at Balsam Avenue in March, she says they’ve already gained a slew of regulars like a gentleman who comes in and buys out all their biscuits.

“I don’t even think he realizes they’re gluten free and they’re vegan and egg free,” she says. “I don’t think he has any idea and I love that he just loves them because they’re good.”

Although she’s excited now, she says she was nervous prior to their launch because she didn’t know how people would react to a dairy-free establishment, especially when it came to taking their coffee without milk or cream.

“Everyone kept saying ‘are you excited?’ I’m like ‘I’m scared,’ ” she said. “I think I was just terrified to see what people were going to say like, ‘Oh this is weird’ or if they didn’t get it.”

Vaccher serves up savoury items like broccoli scones, sweet treats like cupcakes and chocolate bars, including her own version of an Oh Henry! bar, as well as some gluten-free goods. She hopes to add more lunch items like soups and sandwiches to the menu in the coming months and says many of the dishes were altered from her grandmother’s recipes.

“She’s kind of the baker in the family and I’ve always baked with her since I was really little,” she says.

She also takes traditional recipes and creates their vegan counterparts and sometimes achieves success through trial and error.

“You mess up something and it comes out as something else,” she adds. “Like you meant to make a brownie but you make fudge instead or something crazy like that.”

Although she went to university for theatre production, she says she’s always loved baking and during a lull between set jobs decided to make the career leap.

“When I became a vegan I was baking more and people were trying it a lot and then I started doing my friends’ weddings and their friends’ weddings and that’s kind of how it all started,” she says. “Just like working from my kitchen at home.”

She says her background did help when she was designing the interior of the bakeshop, which was inspired by a trip to New York City. She says she went into as many bakeries as she could find to take notes on what she did and didn’t like.

“Everywhere had see through windows to see the bakery and I was like we need to have that,” she says. “Especially for a natural organic bakery, people need to see where the food is coming from and nothing’s frozen and everything’s fresh everyday and we use all natural organic ingredients.”

As for the name, she says she picked it because she wanted something simple and so people would know there’s an actual person making everything.

“A lot of people say they just feel so comfortable sitting here and that’s kind of what I want,” she says. “I want people just to enjoy being able to sit and have a coffee and a treat and take a moment because people rush through their lives. If they can just sit and take a moment, that would be what I would like.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Apr 19 2012 6:30 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto