Nicole Olascoaga operates an allergy and vegan friendly bakery out of her own premises in Yass, delivering her baked goods across the Canberra region.
The 24-year-old began Tikvahs Bakery after relocating from Melbourne to Canberra in 2019. She went to trade school and studied baking while in Melbourne and had spent some time working in hospitality.
When Nicole’s partner, Dan O’Connor, joined Yass Fire and Rescue the pair moved to the Valley where she continued working to grow her business despite the ups and downs of coronavirus.
Nicole said she learned baking the traditional way with classic ingredients like eggs, butter, and dairy. However, at the time she was vegan, so it was difficult to find products that were as aesthetically pleasing and had the flair of normal baked goods.
“From my background of learning how to do things in the traditional way – I worked on recipes and what I liked and what I thought was important for a baked good,” she said.
Nicole has been vegan for six years and said after moving from Melbourne that veganism in the Canberra region wasn’t as widespread.
“I think there’s just a misconception that vegan is gross, and I really had to push through that when I was at the markets,” she said. “It took a while for people to even look at me twice if they weren’t vegan.”
But Nicole built up her reputation in the vegan community and now also markets herself to allergy friendly families.
“All my desserts are vegan,” she said. “They have no eggs, no dairy, and no animal products.”
“We have every kind of substitute that there is, and we try and keep it soy free as well because soy is another big allergen.”
Nicole said although all her products are vegan, after years of practice and research they don’t taste like it.
Nicole is focusing on online orders with a short delivery turnaround during off-peak periods. However, she experiences a spike in orders around holidays or special occasions like Father’s or Mother’s Day, Halloween, and Christmas.
You can find Nicole’s bakery at www.tikvahsbakery.com.au, Instagram at @tikvahsbakery or the Tikvahs Bakery Facebook page.
By Brianna O’Rourke