In 1994, we started Fred's Bread in a tiny apartment kitchen using organic grapes
from that autumn's harvest, and along with water and flour, we created our own sourdough
starter. The active wild yeasts in our starter means we slow it down and give our
bread time to rise and ripen. Hand-crafted and hearth-baked breads made with 100%
natural ingredients, unbleached, and organic flours begin to define what Fred's
Breads is all about. Our recipes are created using the "levain" bread traditions
of rural France, one that envelops our bakery and breads with a perfect wheaty,
nutty aroma. An open textured crumb, a caramelized crust and depth of flavour that
speaks to the grains we use are also hallmarks of our bread.
We know - you're wondering: Who is Fred?
The Secret Revealed!
Fred was head baker Andrea Damon Gibson's beater of a 1982 Tercel. The "car that
could" hung in there with her when she started as a baker, making and hand delivering
cakes. And, as it turns out, both Andrea and husband Steve's great grandfathers
were named Fred. The name Fred's Bread just stuck (we think it's catchy) and today,
it stands for artisanal bread made with time and care, just like your grandfathers
would have enjoyed!
The Principals Andrea Damon Gibson and Steve Gibson
Andrea learned to bake from her mom at an early age because for her, baking is all
about love. She translated the care and pleasure her mother took in cooking and
baking for the family as an expression of her love. Andrea's mom always allowed
her to help in the kitchen where anything she attempted was met with praise, encouragement,
She organized her first bake sale in the front yard when she was about 10 years
old. With two friends and the kitchen table pulled out onto the front lawn, they
sold cookies, brownies and oatmeal cake. One of the girls' mothers thought they
should donate the profits to charity. Andrea, on the other hand, wanted to go out
for a steak dinner. This was her first foray as a baker before starting a pastry
and cake making business out of her little basement kitchen when she was 22. Afterwards,
she gained professional experience in the pastry kitchen of the David Wood Food
Shop before attending the Peter Kump New York Cooking School where she earned her
Blue Ribbon Diploma. That was followed up with a few years as pastry chef at Splendido
under Arpi Magyar before starting Fred's Bread. Today, her focus is bread made the
old school way. It's a good thing she's a patient person, because to make good bread,
you need to make friends with time.
Steve completed his MBA from the University of Toronto in 1995 with a project that
was a business plan for Fred's Bread. He earned an 'A', the bank gave them a loan
and Fred's Bread was born. By September '95, the dynamic duo was sampling their
bread at Pusateri's and happily, people loved it. The fact that Pusateri's and Scaramouche
liked their product was a great coup for the fledgling company. By January of the
following year, Andrea stopped sleeping at the bakery (the natural starters need
to be babysat and she was working around the clock filling orders) while Steve maintained
a full-time job. His father-in-law Paul soon joined in to help out with the administration
and the books and by 1998, Steve jumped in with both feet. In between all of this,
the couple had two great kids- Meg and Max who grew up, in part, at the bakery.
2010 marks their 15th Anniversary. Time really has flown by for the bread making
couple, and it seems like only yesterday when Steve wrote that business plan and
Andrea started working on their first bread- City Sourdough.
The bakery is a natural extension of who's behind it. It takes care of us as a family
and company, we take care of it. We believe in family and look to them to share
in our joys, successes and failures. Sharing and breaking bread together is, simply
put, one of our greatest pleasures in life - and we hope to have a small part in
making it special for you.