With a name like ‘La Baguette Magique’, Emilie Hebert’s goal was to sell delicious, homemade bread locally.
But without a bread oven and her pastries flying off her shelves, her five-year-old, order-based food business morphed into everything but bread.
Right now, she is in the thick of filling Christmas orders and this season has been one like no other.
“It wasn’t even December yet, and I had already reached my totals from the last five Christmases. I guess people are eager to get together with loved ones after last year,” she said.
Hebert attributes all her good luck in the business to a broken leg.
In 2016, she had just finished her last class before obtaining her social work degree and went shopping to celebrate.
“I took a spill down a hill and broke my femur. After eight months of recovery from multiple surgeries, I saw an advertisement for a program for start-up businesses called RISE through Ryerson.”
At the age of 28, Hebert is heading into her sixth Christmas season stationed out of her certified kitchen at St. Stephen’s-on-the-Hill church in New Sudbury. Hebert is putting in 30-hour work weeks even with hiring two additional staff members, and the support of her parents.
“Mom folds the boxes on site and takes some home to fold in the evenings for me. She also helps to work the weekend farmer’s market. Dad makes and stirs-up the butter tart sauce and does the shopping and deliveries for heavy groceries like the 20 kilogram bags of sugar,” said Hebert.
She’s working feverishly to fill orders for her cut off date of Dec. 23 for meat pies, shepherd’s pies, catering dessert trays, scones, cupcakes, savoury buns, quiches, peanut butter balls and cookies.
She said the hot ticket item is always the butter tarts.
“People have told me these are the best butter tarts ever so I have a sign at the market that said just that,” she said. The butter tarts have options, too, everything from chocolate chips to raisins and walnuts.
She said a woman recently stopped by the market to tell her she used to sell butter tarts in her shop in Mexico and that hers were comparable and just as great.
Hebert attributes her successful recipes to her French-Canadian and English grandmothers. Both grandmas are equally proud of her efforts and they often get special orders dropped off after the weekend market days are complete.
She plans to return to school next year to pursue a Masters in Social Work Her goal is to continue the business on a part-time basis while juggling the course load.
She said many seniors have come to rely on her meals-to-go and recognizes that the need for senior’s specials will still be required when she hits the books this fall.
Anastasia Rioux is a freelance writer in Greater Sudbury.