When I used to bake as a hobby, whenever I used a recipe that called for nuts, I’d always remove the nuts. I don’t have anything against nuts – I just don’t think they have any business being in my baked goods :-)
How It All Started
I never really thought much about nuts until we opened our first storefront across from the National Zoo in 2015. Customers would come in and ask if we had anything without nuts – to which we’d reply that none of our products contained nuts. Their faces would instantly light up and they would get so excited!
Hearing Your Stories
I started to chat with parents at the store and learned about their experiences navigating the world of food with a child with a nut allergy. The more I talked with them, the better I understood just how meaningful it was for them to be able to bring their child to Baked by Yael. It’s so much more than just being able to enjoy delicious baked goods. It’s being able to walk into a bakery and not have to be on guard the entire time, not to have to worry about there being peanuts or tree nuts somewhere in the bakery.
Before long, word started to spread, and we became a destination for many tourists and other visitors who were traveling with someone with a nut allergy.
We were already basically nut-free from the day the store opened. I knew that, but I wanted our customers to know that, too – and to feel comfortable bringing their nut-allergic children to Baked by Yael. I figured we’re already most of the way towards being nut-free since we don’t use nuts in any of our products. Why not take it a step further and make the conscious decision to be nut-free?
We inspected all of our ingredients to see if they had the disclaimer that says “made in a facility that processes peanuts and tree nuts”. If they did, we found another brand that had no such disclaimer. We instructed our staff that they were not permitted to bring anything with nuts into the bakery, and we posted a note for our customers indicating that no outside food or open drinks were allowed in the store.
We incorporate allergen training into our new employee training. In addition, every employee takes a food allergen safety course in addition to a general food safety course.
Gluten-Free & Vegan
Inclusivity is one of our core values. We want everyone to be able to enjoy something at Baked by Yael. While we can’t accommodate everyone’s dietary restrictions, we do our best. So, as you can imagine, we didn't stop at nut-free only. We became Kosher certified and we also added gluten-free and vegan items to our menu. We currently make a gluten-free version of our cookie bars, raspberry bars, cakepops, and black & white cookies.
There are so many stories that we have received from customers like the ones we featured here. Each story fills our hearts with knowing that we can create a safe space for children (and adults!) with nut allergies to enjoy the full bakery experience.