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Gluten Free Garage Vendor Profile: NONA Vegan Foods

Featuring over 65 local and artisanal vendors, Gluten Free Garage is set to go down on Sunday May 1st at Artscape Wychwood Barns. As a returning media sponsor, we’ve loved seeing GFG grow over the last 5 years, and become not only the massively successful event that it is, but also a pillar in the GF community. A feast for all the senses, expect to hear inspiring speakers and sample a vast assortment of tasty offerings from sauces and pasta to baked goods, cheeses (HA!), dumplings and pickles – our mouths are already watering!

In anticipation of Toronto’s original gluten free pop-up marketplace, we’re profiling a handful of this year’s vendors we love! Kailey Gilchrist is the Sauce Boss of NONA Vegan Foods Ltd., a Toronto-based start-up specializing in dairy free, gluten free, cashew-based cream sauces. Kailey always had a passion for business, growing up in a family of entrepreneurs.

Tell us your story! When did you decide to start your business and how did the idea come about?

Well, I’ve been a vegan for… let me count… over 12 years now! (Had to use my toes to get that tally count.) When I was growing up, my mom and I took some of our favourite Italian recipes and transformed them into delicious vegan meals. My all-time favourite was her creamy, cashew-based Alfredo sauce. When my mom passed away, I turned to cooking to deal with my grief. My sister recognized that I had a potential business on my hands. Why not jar my friend- and family-approved sauces and fill this gaping void in the health food market? At the time there were no vegan cream sauces available anywhere! I got things really off the ground about two and a half years ago, and in the meantime have grown to be in stores I had only dreamed of! NONA can be found in Whole Foods, Loblaws, Goodness Me, and it seems like the sky just might be the limit.

What’s been the most exciting part about owning your own business? What’s been the most challenging?

The most exciting part of this crazy lifestyle I somewhat masochistically threw myself into is not knowing what is around the corner. I’m able to make my own decisions about what it is I want to focus on and accomplish next. It’s so satisfying to be able to carve out your own path, even if things don’t go exactly how you planned. In fact, that might be the most exciting part of it all!   

As for challenges, one overarching difficulty I have dealt with from the get-go is feeling lonely. When it’s your own passion driving this baby of a business into fruition, it’s all on you to get the job done. There aren’t co-workers to bounce things off of, or bosses to go to when you don’t know what decision to make. You just crumple further into the bed you haven’t left since morning and hope one day you can see your friends again. However there is an amazing community of entrepreneurs I have found to both celebrate and commiserate with. I don’t know where I’d be without them!

What can we expect from you at GFG?

We hope to tempt you with a warm display of our three different sauce flavours. Your choice of Alfredo, cheesy or Carbonara will be served up on a sample of gluten free rice noodles. Our jars will be on sale for a special show price. And as always, a team of somewhat overexcited dancing sauciers.

What’s your favourite product that you make at the moment? (We’re sure it changes all the time.)

My favourite has always been the classic NONA staple, Alfredo! It was the first in my line, and for good reason! Lately, I love mixing it half and half with tomato sauce to make a creamy rosé. It’s super easy to just heat up and pour over some al dente red lentil noodles.

CONTEST!

Enter to win a pair of tickets to Gluten Free Garage by tweeting:

Hi @Shedoesthecity! Please send me to @glu10freegarage so I can indulge in all the yummy gf goodies!

Winner will be announced on April 25th. Good luck!

Gluten Free Garage is Toronto’s original pop-up marketplace of all things deliciously gluten free, and it’s going down on Sunday May 1st! You can buy tix and check out the vendors HERE!

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