It's a shame how many people are denied their favorite sweets because of dietary regulations. Whether they are gluten-intolerant, on a vegan or vegetarian diet, eating baked goods can be quite a challenge. However, Jody Stevens, owner of the dietary-friendly bakery, jodycakes, decided that everyone should have their cake and eat it too.
What she does:
jodycakes is a delivery-only bakery that has been in Houston since 2008 and Stevens designs an array of cupcakes, celebration cakes and even wedding cakes that meet dietary restrictions for vegan-eaters and for those who are gluten-intolerant. All of her products use organic ingredients, too. Recently, she has created egg-less cakes for the Indian and Pakistani community.
"I have done quite a bit of work in the Indian and Pakistani community because they choose to eat egg-less," Stevens explains, "and there are very few places around that do that for such a large occasion, like a wedding."
Why does she love her job?
After living in California and seeing the evolution of the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle, Stevens set out on a mission to bring that movement to Houston in the form of cakes. Her primary focus is for the people with dietary restrictions. She wants them to be able to enjoy a cupcake or cake, too.
"My college friend is a vegetarian and he is the one who prompted me to do so," Stevens recalls, "and whenever we went places, they never had vegan or vegetarian sweets that he could enjoy."
Stevens truly has a passion for providing options for those who haven't been able to enjoy regular cakes and cupcakes.
"When I moved back to Texas, I realized that I can make people happy by giving them something they may not have had in a very long time, or ever," Stevens says. "I get emails from families that say, 'thank you.' Every time it just perpetuates why I love what I do. I feel very passionate about being able to provide something for people who can't have it, and to have [thank you's] come back in an email or a text is very rewarding."
Surprisingly, neither Stevens nor anyone in her family has dietary restrictions.
"I have been eating gluten-free off and on -- where I can find it -- because I honestly do believe that it makes a difference in how I feel," Stevens says.
What inspires her?
"I would have to say that it's my customers that inspire me," Stevens notes. "They are the ones that keep me going because of the positivity and the championing of what I am doing for people."
Where is she going?
Stevens has received national recognition for her vegan and gluten-free cakes. Last summer she partnered with Sugar in the Raw to launch their agave in the raw concept. With this launch, she developed several recipes for their national website. She also plans to expand her brand to several restaurants and shops in Houston during this year.
"In the last five years, I have increased my business continually," Stevens notes. "In 2013, I see it growing even more. It's really an exciting time and it's now that people see a lot more of what I do. It is not about fad, it is about needs. A lot of restaurant menus, now, are really implementing things that I came to Houston with in the forefront. It is nice that people are giving people an option in the dining communities."
If not this, then what?
"There is nothing else I want to do," Stevens explains. "Besides travel the world, I am doing what I want to do. This was my calling."
If not here, then where?
Stevens loves to travel and loves to eat international cuisines. "I am from Denver, so I would love to be back home," Stevens says. "Denver, Austin, or Bali, Indonesia. I eat a lot of ethnic food, so I dig that stuff."
Maybe in a few years, Stevens can move to Bali, Indonesia, and open a bakery on the beach. Talk about a wonderful life.
What are her favorite cake flavors?
"That's like asking to pick a favorite child," Stevens says. "I am huge into cardamom and spices. I think one of my favorites is the vegan cardamom-spice. I love chocolate-chili and my grandma's red velvet -- regular, gluten-free or vegan."
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