Toronto woman's side hustle that makes ugly produce beautiful keeps selling out
A Toronto woman who works full-time as a pizza maker has started turning "ugly" produce into something beautiful as a side hustle, and she keeps selling out.
Hello Betina is the brainchild of Carol Gauche, a pizzaiolo at new restaurant Badiali, who's inspired by her grandmother's recipes. She was actually born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and arrived in Canada in just 2016.
The project started with a stumper we all deal with: leftovers.
In 2019, Gauche had started making juices and teas for friends but was left with all sorts of leftovers she didn't know what to do with and wanted to upcycle.
"I remembered I had a few recipes from my grandma for jams and sauces and pickles and started developing the line," Gauche tells blogTO. "Some friends gave me lots of inspiration sharing their family recipes, saying what they used to eat when they were children, and what kind of food reminded them of amazing times."
She officially launched Hello Betina, a line of preserves, in May 2020. She started selling her products at farmers' markets in collaboration with Spent Goods, a bread company with a similar ethos of baking bread using "spent" grain.
While the produce Gauche uses to create her products may be visually imperfect, it's still some of the best on the inside. All produce is organic from small Ontario farms, and she even picks some of it by hand herself.
Hello Betina also utilizing a jar return/recycling program to keep with their sustainable mindset.
"Betina is my mom's name and I named my business after her," says Gauche.
"In my opinion she's the best cook in the world and everything in my family happens in our family kitchen, she's the kitchen's owner. So it's kinda arriving home and saying: hi mom, and getting that warming hug. So it is Hello, Betina."
Her best selling products are her tomato sauces and her blueberry basil jam, and on her website she's recently been sold out of banana jam, passion fruit jam and tomato confit.
"They sell out constantly and my customers come back anyways," says Gauche. "It's a beautiful energy. They say they can feel the taste. It's an experience. They feel the hug."
Gauche dreams of having her own kitchen and showroom in west Toronto and to continue to sell to as many small shops as possible. Her products are currently available online and at local businesses like Padaria, Tre Mari Bakery, Thin Blue Line Cheese, Belle's Bakery and Tapi Go!
"I love what I make," says Gauche. "Cooking is my creative process alive feeding my creative being. I listen to lots of music and enjoy each step. But I also have at least a day fully off for myself, no one is happy without resting a bit and living."
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