Now is the moment for “gluten-free” in the culinary zeitgeist, and one of our graduates is leading the pack. NGI Graduate Bevin McNulty (CTP 151, 2008) opened Bam Bam Bakery in Portland, Maine last year. Started in her home, Bam Bam offers vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and soy-free baked goods of every variety – cakes, cupcakes, breads, pies, muffins, brownies, and fudge. Bevin makes everything with allergen-free flours, such as rice, tapioca, and sorghum.
The idea for a gluten-free business was already brewing in Bevin’s mind before she attended Natural Gourmet in 2008, but Bevin confesses “I didn’t have a very clear picture of what it would look like.”
Bevin’s adventure began with converting her home kitchen into a commercial one. “Getting my kitchen certified was much easier than I ever would have expected. In Maine you only really have five requirements: a double-bay sink, screens on the windows, a way to block access to pets and unruly children, a non-porous work surface and a bathroom that is nonadjacent to the kitchen.” Consider that in most places (New York City certainly), a commercial kitchen would need to be in a commercial zone and would require numerous certifications and licenses from the Health Department, the Department of Buildings, utility companies, the fire department.
Word-of-mouth has so far been the main source of advertising. “The response to my business has been amazing. People are so excited to get freshly made gluten-free treats. I received an email the other day from a woman who said she hadn’t had anything like my sticky buns in 20 years. How cool is that!”
Most of Bevin’s work comes from the local eateries she wholesales to regularly (see below). She also takes individual and special orders. Apparently, her zucchini muffins, offered in a local coffee shop “are very popular even among those who don’t need to be eating gluten-free!”
Bevin says, “I do think that the time has come for Bam Bam. It’s pretty cool to see what has developed in gluten-free over the last few years. I have wanted my own business for a long time, but even five years ago I had no idea it was a going to be a bakery. It has been a long road, challenging at times but very rewarding. I’ve learned a lot, and know I have a lot more to learn, but I am proud of how far I’ve come.”
If you find yourself in the Portland area, or if you’re in the mood for a gluten-free pilgrimage, check out Bevin’s goods at Becky’s Diner, Good Eats Boutique, PeRx-U-Up Café, Pepperell Sweets Boutique, or Pat’s Pizza.