This month, we would like to highlight Keepin’ It Vegan, our supplier of vegan pastries. Started by a mother-daughter duo Barbara and Jordan, and later joined by Eva, they develop their own recipes for the tasty vegan pastries that don’t even taste vegan!
We had an interview with Jordan and Eva, in which they shared with us the story of Keepin’ It Vegan!
Can you please tell us about yourself and Keepin’ It Vegan?
Jordan: My name is Jordan. I'm the executive chef and I'm one of the co-founders of Keepin’ It Vegan, and this is Eva, the other co-founder of Keepin’ It Vegan.
We originally started as Keto Sweets. I began this crazy journey with my mother, and after about six months, Eva joined us. About eight months after that, Eva and I shut down Keto Sweets, rebranded it and created Keepin’ It Vegan. We opened our little retail area at the beginning of April, and now we're expanding again.
Eva: Jordan’s mother was keto side, and Jordan came up with a lot of vegan baked goods recipes as a pastry chef who gave birth to a child who's severely allergic to dairy. That turned this dream of opening a vegan bakery into reality.
When I came in, it was growing the bakery side and doing more recipes. Keto ingredients and recipes are literally the opposite of vegan ingredients and recipes. We have a little space, so we cut out things one at a time until we could just focus on vegan recipes, which is always the goal.
Our vegan following has really grown, especially because we don't have those egg and dairy products anymore. We see a lot of people with dairy and egg allergies who struggle to find baked goods that don't have eggs and dairy in them, and people who live a plant-based diet and lifestyle. They come to us, and we are able to accommodate them.
What are your main offerings, and what are the most must try when people visit your store?
Jordan: Our mainstay is our croissant. When I was first developing the recipe, I took the regular croissant recipe and spent a month designing the butter to go in the croissant. We made countless batches with different varied butters and we did a lot of research. So we actually make the butter ourselves in our croissants. Even wholesalers who only carry some of our products usually just carry our croissant
We also have macarons which are completely vegan, but when you eat it, you would not be able to tell that it is vegan. We've spent a long time trialing the recipe, but it wasn't until we were able to get a really fancy expensive oven that we were able to make it work.
We also offer a delicatessen line, and one of the things that we are constantly trying to get people to try is our meat alternatives. We have pulled pork, and our salami is really close to the genuine salami.
Eva: It's completely plant-based, but you wouldn't know because it's got the texture, the flavor, and even the marbling appearance. The recipe we developed has a plant-based fat incorporated, just like the salami you can put on pizzas and a lot of other things.
I think the reason why I was so quick to join this organization is because we believe in making things from scratch with high quality. If we don't eat it, we don't think it's delicious, we are not going to sell it.
Can you share a little bit about the process of developing a vegan recipe?
Jordan: If we have an idea in mind, I'll start doing research to see what's out there, and from there take different components from different recipes that people have tried.
A lot of our recipes are regular recipes - brownies, scones, croissants - they are actually all adapted from my personal recipe collection that would use eggs and dairy. It's just a lot of trial and error, like a science experiment! We have our control batch, and then we would make a couple of trial recipes with different volumes of the different egg substitutes. A lot of taking notes, baking, changing like one or two things at a time in the recipe and tasting it again to see what works.
What is your favorite part of running Keepin’ It Vegan? Is the retail side or is it the experimentation side?
Jordan: Getting to make things that I love to eat! Like we said, we like we don't sell a lot of things that we wouldn't eat ourselves. I could make croissant bread every day. And macarons are so tedious, but whenever one of us is stressed from paperwork, we go make macaron shells because it’s like a puzzle that is so calming and therapeutic.
Eva: I would say my favorite part is being able to see the reaction of people who've been looking for something delicious and not exorbitantly expensive. There are people who have struggled to find desserts that are gluten-free and vegan, or soy-free and vegan.
Jordan: We've had some little kids come in and they've had severe egg allergies or dairy allergies. There was one time when a mom came in with her daughter. It was [the daughter’s] birthday, and she was like “You can pick whatever you want”, and the little girl was in awe and excited about being able to have whatever she wanted.
So you must have a very loyal customer base then!
Jordan: Yes, we are very grateful, and it’s very friendly getting to see everybody's faces and see when they repeat their orders. We talk to everybody and try to remember their names!
Do you have any exciting projects coming up at Keepin’ It Vegan?
Jordan: We actually are in the process of renovating a new space. We have a new retail storefront that we're going to open in February. So we're going to close for the month of January to move everything from this location to the new location.
Eva: Right now we just have a tiny display of a couple of breads a day, but when we move, it's going to be hopefully a full espresso bar, a couple of sit-down seats, and a better variety of products. There's no foot traffic here, so where we're going there will be a little foot traffic. That also gives us the ability to offer more products, like muffins and more high-end vegan pastries.
Get a taste of Keepin’ It Vegan at Haven!
- Croissant: $3.25
- Chocolate Croissant: $3.50
- Cinnamon Bun: $3.50
- Macarons: $3.75
- S’mores Brownie: $4.50
- Nanaimo Bars: $4.75