In our article series “Facts” we’ll be talking with members of the coffee shop ecosystem that inspire us, from bakeries to manufacturers, consumer products, and everyone else in between. We want to get to know these folks, and we want you to, too. We’ll be asking everyone the same three questions—the answers, though, will be wildly different.
We had the privilege of catching up with Agatha Kulaga, CEO and co-founder of Ovenly, a retail and wholesale bakery based in NYC, for our first installment. Agatha is a lifelong baker turned entrepreneur, with a background in psychiatry research and clinical social work—she firmly believes in the power of business for social change. Oh, and you can also check out the cook in the book she co-authored: Ovenly: Sweet & Salty Recipes from New York's Most Creative Bakery.
Ovenly is best known for sweet and salty treats that also evoke a sense of nostalgia, like our infamous Peanut Butter Cookie and our utterly indulgent Brooklyn Blackout Cake.
While we take pride in creating amazingly delicious baked goods, we are also focused on building our business in a radically responsible way, like intentional sourcing of ingredients, having open-hiring practices in order to provide opportunities for marginalized people, and using clean energy, composting, and purchasing packaging made from post-consumer recycled materials to reduce our carbon footprint. These values are ingrained in everything we do. So, it's a win-win situation for everyone.
The first treats we perfected at Ovenly were our Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies (secretly vegan!) and our Currant Rosemary Scones (the best scone you'll ever eat, period). Both are still some of our most popular products today. Coincidentally, many of our best-selling treats were developed in the first year that Ovenly was born, which speaks to how great—and timeless—they really are!
We just finished testing a summer lemon bar with jammy blueberries and a rosemary shortbread crust that I cannot stop eating. It's like if a slice of blueberry pie and a lemon tart had a beautiful baby together. It's the perfect balance of sweet and tart with a hint of savory.
What makes Dough Doughnuts so extra-specially scrumptious? Steven Klein gives us the scoop.
If you think Pain d’Avignon’s slow-fermented breads are to-die-for, wait til you get a load of their traditional French croissants, made with 83% European butter.
Up now: Faith and Brandon Lee, owners of specialty coffee shop Bird & Branch. Their bright, beloved location in Hell’s Kitchen has become a favorite haunt for locals.