FOOD | Vegan Baking with Gingerly’s Gillian Phillips

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Gingerly Plant-Based Bakery — the only vegan bakery in NL — proves that while a cookie is just a cookie, taste sets one baker apart

 

Gillian Phillips knows her way around the kitchen, and she doesn’t mind sharing her talents with others. What started as ‘by request’ for friends and family has turned into a business she is passionate about. Gingerly Plant-Based Bakery, the only vegan bakery in the province, was born in 2016.

TOOK OFF’

“I used to manage a little coffee shop and I started using that as a test kitchen and I started baking some treats for customers to see if there was an interest,” she began.

There was, and the baked treats soon “took off.” “People would come in and they would wait for treats before they were even out of the oven. I would get people asking me to bake for them special orders and I was really passionate about it and so I went off on my own after a while so I could focus.”

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Now, Phillips has a busy business going. “I sell my products at retail locations like Urban Market, Jumping Bean and Belbin’s and I also do restaurant takeovers.”

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‘KEEP IT LOCAL’

Gingerly Plant-Based Bakery can be found on Facebook and Instagram and it’s worth tracking down a few orders. Phillips hand-delivered some sweets on the day we chat and they were delightfully delicious!

Phillips likes to “keep it local” and partners with those who are growing ingredients she needs. Why plant-based?
“I started out watching some documentaries and getting a little bit more educated and I decided to give up dairy and meat and took it from there. I feel a million times better. It’s about a healthy diet. It’s about our ecosystem as well as the environment. So there’s all sorts of different factors that come into play. At first for me it was a diet change and then I guess I became a little bit more morally conscious about everything,” she shared.

Don’t get her wrong, she added, being vegan doesn’t necessarily mean being healthy. “You can still eat fries and fries are vegan and feel bloated, but I’m offering alternative options.”

HERE ON THE ISLAND

A positive of the pandemic? An opportunity to partner with other businesses. “Lots of local businesses came together and supported each other. It’s just opened up so many more doors and has given me an opportunity to learn how to make all kinds of cool new foods, like homemade pasta. And the customers? They love it.”

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Phillips says her chocolate chip cookies are pretty famous. “They’re probably one of my most popular selling items. We do the Newfoundland sea salt chocolate chip cookies. I make ginger molasses, breakfast cookies, peanut butter cookies, ice cream sandwiches and my ice cream cakes are super busy. They’re flying out the door. S’mores cookie bars. I make brownies.” She laughed. Basically, if it can be eaten, she makes it!

We pause to taste test. Delightful!

“I love sharing cookies. It’s so much fun. People always eat them and the reaction is, ‘oh my gosh. I can’t believe these are vegan.’ But it’s just a cookie. I should put that into my marketing or my branding. It’s just a cookie. Flour and butter and sugar is vegan, so it’s just a cookie. People sometimes will look at a vegan label and be a little bit hesitant. And I’m like, ‘it’s just a cookie. Try it,’” she said.

Phillips says she hopes to see more folks around enjoying her cookies and other treats as the weather continues to improve, but she also loves promoting other local businesses as well. “The Trinity Market is just a great way to connect locals with the things that we make here in our very own home. There’s so much great stuff out there.”

At first, it was to introduce tourists to the beautiful things that we have here on the island. But now? “It’s about our own people and what we offer and connecting them all in the heart of downtown.”

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For more information, find Gingerly on Facebook & Instagram. Or check them out at The Trinity Market!

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Pam is the Managing Editor of The Newfoundland Herald. As the mother of two, she proudly writes about a life lived simply at home on 'The Rock.' When not interviewing or writing about NL's finest, Pam can be found spending her time in the great Newfoundland outdoors.

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