This woman quit the restaurant industry to create one of Toronto’s hottest bakeries
A Toronto bakery that started out as a secret has exploded to supply some Toronto cafes with items like popular bagel bombs.
Bread head is the brainchild of Lucy Kirby, a professional pastry chef who started out at Buca and Sud Forno in Toronto.
In just a year, her bakery has grown from a one-woman-run business at her parents’ house to a full-fledged business with multiple employees and wholesale partners, some of which are the hottest new cafes. popular in the city.
Kirby started cooking in 2012 at a restaurant business in Toronto, but “really hated the sibling culture and toxic masculinity.”
“I noticed that the only person who paid attention and respected me was the pastry chef,” Kirby told blogTO.
“From that point on, I had just fallen in love with the process, the patience for quality and the families I created in the kitchens I worked in.”
Sadly, battling a toxic work environment would prove to be a common thread in Kirby’s career: after working on Buca’s opening team in Yorkville, she moved to Vancouver to work at Hawksworth but “quickly regretted”.
“From there, I was asked to be the head baker and open their new concept of coffee for which I, again, worked in the soil for two years. That’s when I realized that I needed boundaries and a personal life to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. “
It was around this time that she accepted a job in Toronto and returned in February 2020.
Three weeks later, she was “completely haunted by the business” and out of work, finding herself searching for something to do and being brought back to the one piece of peace in her life: baking.
“I found the making of the sourdough very therapeutic. During my stay at Nelson the Seagull I developed very bad anxiety, something I never thought I would feel in my life, so the repetitive motions made me feel bad. really helped calm me down in times of panic. I think attaching that in the brand name
Breadhead stays true to the way I cope, ”says Kirby.
“Making something like sourdough, you will never get the same bread twice, there are just too many factors to take into account. So when you see that initial oven pop up in the first 10 minutes of baking, you get that crazy dopamine shot that any baker could tell you, it can turn your entire day from bad to good. “
Unable to “stand still for more than a week,” she launched Breadhead in April.
“When that job failed, it was almost a blessing in disguise because it gave birth to Breadhead,” says Kirby.
“We wanted to create an army of bread heads, like the dead heads, you know, The Grateful Dead, and that name really resonated with me.”
The business moved from Kirby’s parents’ house to an apartment where she lived with two roommates and cooked small amounts using a miniature bakery setup in her happily large 120-square-foot room.
She was able to deliver orders two to three days a week, and in February 2021 she was moving the bakery to the kitchen at White Squirrel Coffee Shop across from Trinity Bellwoods Park.
She now offers weekly pop-ups using a pre-order system on her website and has expanded her team to include bakery Lauren, driver Andrew, brand and graphic designer Ben and food stylist Sage.
His items are now sold at White Squirrel, Larry’s Folly, and Happy Coffee and Wine, all of which feature Breadhead bagel bombs and crullers.
“I originally wanted to make a croissant-based bakery, with sourdough bread, but sometimes life doesn’t give you the equipment or the electricity for these things, so I decided to go for a menu more brioche / bread, ”says Kirby.
“We make donuts, and we alternate their toppings and icings according to the seasons. We make large format pies and pancakes, as well as Basque cheesecakes and
party cakes. “
Breadhead specializes in seasonal ingredients, obtaining them from suppliers like Muddy Crops and vendors at farmers’ markets.
Their future plans include opening three days a week in December, and they will slow down online store pop-ups in November to prepare for it.
Ultimately, Kirby wants to keep it small and keep it sourdough.
“In a perfect world, I would have my own retail bakery, but I don’t want to stress myself out making it happen,” says Kirby.
“Name it, I do. This is what a small business looks like. It’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is something about working for yourself that is so liberating, I wish. to anyone with that dream, he continues. I was broke when I started Breadhead. Anyone can start a business. “