Market Insider By Amy Carlberg 158 Views

Toronto couple that met on Bumble started a puff pastry business that keeps selling out

A 28-year-old and her fiance's business keeps selling out of their delectably simple puff pastry "pouffes."

Vivian Ngovu is the founder and executive chef of Pouffe, and she says her 34-year-old fiance Elton Mak is her "trusty sous chef" who also helps with washing dishes and order handoffs. The pair both currently still have other full-time jobs.

"We met on Bumble about five years ago and just got engaged this past December to end 2020 off with a bang," Ngovu tells blogTO.

Ngovu works in sales at a global digital marketing company and Mak is a claims manager at an insurance company.

The pouffes are basically like a blown-up version of a canape that takes classic puff pastry snacks from the cocktail party to the couch, whether it's working from home or unwinding.

"I started Pouffe because I always used to make them for family and friend get-togethers and everyone loved them," says Ngovu.

"I started about two months ago when I noticed people were starting these home-based food businesses."

They come in varieties like mushroom spinach brie, turkey apple brie, ham cheddar broccoli and even something called "Mac Daddy" with ground beef, pickle and cheddar. A half dozen cost $24 and a full dozen costs $42.

They're able to put aside one or two hours each weekday to manage their Instagram page and working on marketing, and put time aside each week to get fresh ingredients and work on research and development.

"We have a lot of ideas for different flavours for monthly special pouffes," says Ngovu. "On the weekends we wake up bright and early to prep and bake the orders."

Online orders have to be in by Thursday for weekend pickup near Dundas and Carlaw on Saturday and Sunday, when Ngovu and Mak make about 1o0 pouffes per day. They've gained a loyal following of fans they call "pouffesters."

"We do small batches, and we sometimes get big orders for things like drive-by baby showers, so we definitely have a cut-off since it's just me and my fiance prepping and baking," says Ngovu.

Ngovu says she was enrolled in the Culinary Arts program at George Brown before the pandemic cut her studies short, and would like to follow Pouffes with something bigger.

"I would love to open a speakeasy style, Vietnamese fusion snack bar with dishes like Vietnamese crepes (banh xeo), fish sauce wings and spring rolls (cha gio)," she says.

"When the world is back to normal I plan to network even more with restaurant owners and chefs and learn from them."

When it comes to Ngovu, don't write off this budding chef's innocent-looking little puffs: she's got big plans and is definitely one to watch.



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