“What wakes me up in the morning is knowing things won’t get done if I’m not there. How would a customer feel if I didn’t show up?”
What wakes me up in the morning is knowing things won’t get done if I’m not there. How would a customer feel if I didn’t show up? As a business owner with my face and name on the windows, doors, and boxes, I owe it to my customers to stick to my hours and run a reliable service. Cakes to bake. Bills to pay. Kitchen to streamline. Ingredients to prep. Deliveries to process. It’s go go go. When things get slower, it’s not good financially, but good creatively. I’m perfecting recipes based on my customers’ feedback. Even on my day ‘off’, I’m still getting things done for the coming week.”
Being your own boss is often glamorized with buzzwords like autonomy, flexibility, and freedom, but Elisa Lyew can assure you that owning your own business is hard, 24/7 work that’s not for everyone.
Forgoing culinary school training, Elisa learned everything she knows on the job. She built up her experiences as a pastry chef in Italian restaurants making traditional desserts, often with no overhead to use healthier, and thus more expensive, ingredients. When approaching investors to launch her own dessert business using wholesome, healthier ingredients, most leaned towards mass production while Elisa wanted her treats made fresh in-house. Focused on creating something that didn’t yet exist, Lyew saved up enough to open Elisa’s Love Bites, Bushwick’s first gluten-free bakery. Though different from her initial plans, she’s made the space and neighborhood, marked by wall art and an industrial vibe, her own.
From Spankin’ Doughnuts, Bangin’ Chocolate Chip Cookies, to Naked Rose Custards, Elisa strives to balance cost with taste. Catering to gluten-free dessert seekers and clients with food allergies while also offering vegan options, her process involves a lot of experimenting and adjusting recipes with specialty flours, different flavorings, and natural sweeteners. Her latest and most challenging creation? Gluten-free Love Bites Loaves, flat breads, and rolls available in-store and on UberEATS and Postmates.