photos by mary preiser potts
It’s not everyday that someone swoops in to fund your dreams. Utilizing a Kickstarter campaign, a passion for sweets and their personal warmth, Chris and Catherine Misener of Deda’s Bakery sold their baked goods at community events all over Vancouver last summer. They bake out of a shared commercial kitchen with primarily wholesale and custom orders. But, their short-term goal is to buy a mobile bakery and go direct.
It was difficult to reach enough people making modest donations to make the mobile bakery a reality. The Miseners prepared to re-launch the campaign with new ideas when something completely unexpected happened. Someone – the Miseners are not saying who or how – came forward and offered to fund the food cart.
“Kickstarter is such a cool concept,” Catherine said. “It’s a fantastic way for people to see what’s going on – or what might go on – in their community. And when you back a project, you’re contributing to making someone’s dreams come true, and that also strengthens the community.”
My first taste of Deda’s baked goods was at a picnic table outside of Torque Coffee during a Drink This! event. I love baked goods, especially when they’re sweet without tasting sugary. In the case of the porter cupcake I tasted the rich flavors of the beer as well as the subtle spices in the cake, and the frosting was more cream than sugar, just how I like it. The other items I tried followed suit. The hand pie was apple first, then cinnamon-sweetness. The crust was light and textural. Even the whoopie pies exhibited an uncharacteristic complexity of flavors.
The Miseners relocated to Vancouver from Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2009. They brought Deda’s Bakery with them, but they didn’t immediately open a storefront when they arrived. Instead they rented space in a commercial kitchen and rounded up as many wholesale accounts as they could manage, as well as taking custom orders.
In August they participated in the Vancouver Brewfest, where beer from Heathen Brewing and Mt. Tabor Brewing found its way into their baking in honor of the event. But the treats – brewballs and porter cupcakes among them – were such a hit that they may earn a permanent spot on Deda’s menu.
“I was surprised how much I enjoyed incorporating various microbrews into our treats. I didn’t expect the subtle flavors of malt, hops, coffee, caramel and such to come through so well,” Catherine said.
They both agree that one of the best things about having a bakery is getting to connect with people in their community. This is something they’ve missed about not having a storefront. But, the experience of serving people in many different locations instead of being rooted to one bakery in one neighborhood was appealing to them. There, the idea of the mobile bakery was born.
Soon, they’ll be cruising Vancouver with their bakery trailer, and adding a cafe menu to their sweet offerings. Twitter will guide customers to their current location. In five years? They hope to also open a storefront in downtown.
Chris & Catherine Misener