Jennifer Lee’s Bakery opens larger location in Worcester
WORCESTER, Mass. – A local baker transformed her business over time from a traditional bakery to one with a very unique menu.
“We are, so far, completely free of all top nine,” said Jennifer Lee’s Bakery owner Jennifer Lee. “Gluten, eggs, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy and sesame seeds.”
This is a bakery where many traditional ingredients never even enter the building. With two locations in Boston and Worcester, Jennifer Lee’s Bakery eliminates the nine most common food allergens. In 2014, a serious injury led Lee to find his niche in vegan and allergen-free baking.
“I fell and broke my neck at work. I was coming out of a freezer and slipped on ice,” Lee said. “As I recovered, I broke out in hives all over my body. And they kept telling me it was gluten and dairy allergy. It was actually the opioids they were giving me.
By going gluten-free and dairy-free, Lee discovered recipes and a new direction for her baking.
“So I wanted to help people with food allergies because no one understood them in 2014 and gluten-free options were cardboard,” she said.
She says it took a lot of trial and error to find the right substitutes for her recipes. Part of his job is to call distributors to make sure the ingredients meet his top nine allergen-free standards.
“Because it’s not just, oh my stomach hurts, for some people,” she said. “It could kill some of my clients.”
During the pandemic, his bakeries started making deliveries and Lee hired friends who had been laid off.
“Once they started going back to work,” she said, “I realized I had to do everything myself or we wouldn’t make it.”
After driving thousands of miles in his car, often working more than 20 hours a day, Lee opens up a bigger space. It’s a lot of work, but she says it pays off when customers with allergies discover her bakery.
“It’s moving,” she said. “It’s my favorite part, watching moms cry. They come and they think their child can finally have a cupcake. It’s the first time they go to a bakery at 14. When they come to the bakery, they sob because they say: ‘My child can have anything!’ For that brief second, they can be a normal child and just experience it.
Lee plans to continue developing the menu at 127 Cambridge Street in Worcester. It will add even more options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She also plans to hold allergen-free events. The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, January 29.