Updated: Jul 13
Hi! I wanted to share a little bit more about how I started Level V Bakery!
I am the owner and head baker of Level V Bakery. I started Level V Bakery in my home kitchen back in 2017 as part of my side hustle. I always had an interest in baking and loved creating desserts to share with friends, family, and co-workers. Since becoming vegan in 2015, I had to learn how to substitute things like milk, butter, and eggs with vegan alternatives. Although I never had any background in culinary or pastry arts, I think my post-secondary education in nutritional and food sciences did come in handy when developing recipes that are now a staple in my bakery, such as vegan croissants and cream puffs!
During my post-secondary studies, I was working at a local beef jerky company in the quality assurance department as part of my co-op program and continued working there for a few more years. Mid-way through my employment, I had become vegan for ethical reasons and was passionate about veganism so I began sharing some of my vegan creations with my co-workers. But everyday was a mental struggle working there. I could not work for a company that did not align with my values, but instead opposed them. I could not continue working and making a living where my salary came from the harming of animals.
I soon found myself in the quality assurance department for a gluten-free flour manufacturing company and bakery. Although I was not in their baking division, I became more interested in baking and started Level V Bakery at this time. I started advertising in local vegan Facebook groups, and eventually the word of mouth spread about my vegan cakes. I was hustling hard. I worked full time Monday to Friday 9 to 5 at my day job, while spending every Saturday and Sunday baking, icing, and delivering cakes to customers for my own company, Level V Bakery.
I never actually had experience working in a legitimate bakery before, but I decided to take the huge risk and left my secure job to venure out into the hospitality industry. I helped create another now well known vegan bakery, while I was also producing for Level V Bakery. After 11 months there, I ultimately decided it was time for me to focus my energy and realization of Level V Bakery. I started doing monthly vegan high-tea events, and although it was a lot of work, it was so worth it every time. These events allowed me to try new recipes, improve and test my skills, and be creative with flavours and combinations of different pastries and desserts. I loved hosting these events most importantly because it created a community for vegans to get together and build new friendships.
Demand was growing for my cakes, and I had eventually outgrown my home kitchen. I had met Kimmy of Whisk Premium Matcha just prior to diving into full entrepreneurship and partnered with her to bake vegan matcha macarons for the first outdoor Vegan Festival. Shortly after, our friendship developed into a partnership and we opened our first plant-based vegan cafe and bakery during the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic in June 2020.
Many people ask us if opening during Covid was difficult, and although there were some challenges due to restrictions, we are grateful that we had built a strong community that supported us everyweek.
Level V Bakery's menu includes classics such as cakes, cupcakes, croissants, cookies, brownies, cheesecakes, and macarons. But being a Chinese Canadian, I missed eating a few things prior to my vegan days, and I knew I needed to recreate and add them on the menu because I know others are nostalgic like me! So we also have more asian influenced items such as mochi muffins, pineapple buns, egg tarts, and mooncakes. Everything is made from scratch and in small batches to ensure consistency and quality. The pastries and desserts at Level V Bakery are sure to impress vegans and also non-vegans as they are indistinuishably plant-based.
Thanks for listening to my story!