Dietary restrictions


Since April 18th we have been nut free at PGB…and we have always offered vegan options as well as gluten free ones.

My observations about foodservice businesses catering to diet restrictions and preferences are:

  1. You must do it. If you decide not to, recognize you will miss out on a segment of the market – it’s a rare event  that doesn’t have at least one person who is celiac; vegan or vegetarian as a preference; or allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs, soy and/or other allergens.
  2. It’s a lot of work. Most of the work is upfront – developing recipes, finding suppliers and writing policies all takes time – but everyone also needs to remain vigilant about adherence to the policies.
  3. It is well worth it! We’ve noticed for years that large orders for weddings and corporate events usually include some vegan and GF products, and now that we are entirely nut free, we are supplying products to schools, more hospitals and more children’s parties.

Andrew has a cousin, David, who is smart and really logical. Just before we opened in 2011, I was explaining to him that I didn’t believe in brightly coloured icings,  that we would never do cakes because our specialty was cupcakes, and that we’d  always use peanut butter at PGB.

David smiled and said, “Jean, if the  customers want blue Smurf cakes, you’ll be making them”.

Argh! Hurts to be wrong!

We do not have buckets of blue icing sitting around PGB but send us a Smurf JPG and yes, we will print it on your cake or cupcake toppers…and we sell many cakes in different types and sizes…and we don’t use peanut butter.

You need to have principles in a business. And you need to know when to update them.

Thank you to all of our new nut-free customers, we have appreciated your business and your support very much!


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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