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A Slice of Life: Red Couch Bakery

Local Pie Baker Filling a Niche


August is the beginning of apple harvest season, and what better time to talk to a local village entrepreneur who knows how to bake an extraordinary pie?


Jessica Weiss and her family moved to Lions Bay just before the Olympics in 2010, but it wasn't until the pandemic that her idea for a bakery began to flower. "It came out of a desire that I had to create something with my own hands, and to find a way to add extra income for our family," she says.


With a background in science, as well as restaurant and tourism management, she'd had culinary experience but had never done anything more than home baking.


"For over a decade I'd been making pies with the tree in our backyard and delivering them to our neighbours as a gift. Year after year our close neighbours would exclaim over them, and I would always dismiss it. But when I started asking myself what I'm good at, that's when it clicked. People do say I'm really good at making pies..."


The bakery took its name from the family tradition of taking Christmas pictures on their red couch. The photo to the right was taken in 2021.

"We love living in Lions Bay", she says. "From the very beginning we have been amazed by the supportive and tight-knit community. Just like the views, here – it really is one of a kind."


Once she settled on her idea, Jessica quickly created her own website, and sent out an email to her neighbours. "Within nine seconds, neighbours started ordering. I was shocked!"


Jessica faced a steep learning curve. Not only did she bake the pies, she had to sort out payment and delivery. But the success of her venture was almost immediate and Jessica was able to start baking out of her own kitchen. But after she began selling pies at local farmers markets early last year, she found she had to build a second kitchen in her home just to keep up with demand.


The support of friends and neighbours has been essential. "We've had freezers, refrigerators, and even our brand-new double decker oven given to us as gifts from our neighbours, as well as close friends who believe in us and the bakery. We are super grateful and are always on the lookout for opportunities to give back."


When the bakery first began, a busy month meant producing 30 to 40 pies. These days, however, Jessica is regularly baking more than 400 pies a month. "We're now realizing that we are even outgrowing this space, so we'll need to move into a larger commercial space before the end of this year."


Jessica's family occasionally lends a hand, but this is largely a full time one-woman operation. She likes the niche element of pies, adding it also helps streamline the baking process. Her favourite recipe is the one she started with – the "World's Best Apple Pie," which is also her most popular sales item in a collection that includes Canadian maple, strawberry rhubarb and mixed berry.


Her pies are available to order online, with pick-up available at a number of farmers markets around the region.


And is Jessica enjoying the sweet taste of success? "Well, I guess I'd say first that running a bakery is a lot of work, but it has brought us so much joy. I love hearing how the pies brighten people's day or allow a family to come together and share a special treat. We are always so amazed that something so simple as a pie can bring so much joy."


Next time you've got a yen for the perfect slice of pie, it's nice to know you won't have to leave the village to find one.


The Watershed wants to celebrate the accomplishments of village residents. Got thoughts to share? Leave your comments below, or email us at editor@lionsbaywatershed.ca

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Tamara L
Tamara L
Aug 09, 2023

LOVE love LOVE these pies! Jessica's apple pie is truly the best. Her seasonal pumpkin is divine too. Fresh and delicious her desserts are great for family feasts, fantastic as gifts and "thank yous" too. I especially love that she takes etransfer and (in an emergency) can drop a pie at your door in hours. Blessed to have this bakery local-to-us!!

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