There are vegan bakeries in Toronto and there are gluten-free bakeries in Toronto. But a bakery in the Junction neighbourhood is claiming to be the city's only baked goods shop that is both 100 per cent gluten-free and 100 per cent vegan.
Bunner’s Bake Shop offers up a large variety of treats that adhere to the animal product- and gluten-free dietary restrictions — a first in Toronto.
“I’m a little surprised that we’re still the only vegan and gluten-free bakery...,” said co-owner Kevin MacAllister of his bakery's distinct offering. Though he claims they are unique in the city, the baked goods taste the same as any buttery, gluten-heavy baked goods competitors.
Co-owner Ashley Wittig came up with the idea after deciding to leave a job that brought her a lot of stress, baking was a way of relaxing.
“Kevin and I have never worked in a bakery; we’ve never worked in the food service industry. I never went to baking school. So it was kind of crazy,” she said.
They began by selling their goods at a farmer’s market in the Distillery District.
“Right off the bat we were 100 per cent vegan, and we started realizing that the lineup was really forming for the gluten-free things,” MacAllister said. “And that’s when we made the decision to commit all recipes to being gluten-free.”
They soon after came upon a for rent sign at a store front in of the Junction, where the landlord just happened to also be gluten-intolerant. She told them she used to drive all the way to Mississauga to buy special bread – which is why they added bread to their list of baked goods.
“I love hearing people walk in and say ‘what’s gluten-free here?'” MacAllister said. “And we say, 'everything!'”
Wittig says that while it might only be a bakery, she sees giving people with such tough restrictions more choices as very important. “Food is a super social thing,” she said, adding that it is easy for those with intolerance to feel left out.
Bunner’s will be opening a second shop in Kensington Market later this month.