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Meet Alicia Casas of Jaguar Baker in San José

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alicia Casas.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Alicia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I went vegan eight years ago after being vegetarian for 13 years. The most difficult thing to give up for me was sweets and desserts. At that time, finding plant-based desserts was very difficult so I cheated when birthday cake or party desserts were offered. Soon, I became tired of cheating on my vegan lifestyle, so I started to search for vegan dessert recipes online. I quickly discovered my favorite chefs (and bakers) Isa Chandra, Terry Hope Romero, and Chloe Coscarelli. I’ve always loved baking cookies and cupcakes for myself, friends and family, so following their recipes was exciting! I shared all of these treats with those around me and became even more ecstatic when they became surprised that the treats were vegan. Not long after those experiences, I started to consider that sharing my plant-based treats with the community by opening up a business might be a possibility.

However, I wanted to enhance my baking skills, which led me to a search for vegan baking classes. The only option that was exactly the learning I was looking for was the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City. It was tough to leave work for a week (being that I was an elementary school teacher and had to leave week-long lesson plans) in order to attend the coveted vegan baking boot camp class. Traveling across the country to take a baking class was one of the best decisions I made in my adult life! It gave me the motivation and confidence to make my next great decision of leaving my position as a bilingual teacher to open a vegan baking business. Thanks to much support from my sister, family, friends, and the vegan community Jaguar Baker has flourished to a well-known vegan bakery that specializes in Mexican pan dulce. I am very proud of the plant-based pan dulce and treats we create because they are made with love and consciousness!

Has it been a smooth road?
There have been many struggles along the way! Being an educator, I had extremely limited knowledge about the food industry and business world. I’ve often felt like I don’t know what I’m doing, but the help from those close to me has helped me move forward. It has also been hard to achieve peace of mind regarding job and financial security, but the constant customer support and building a dedicated team has helped me understand that Jaguar Baker will continue to succeed.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are an all-vegan baking business based in San José. We specialize in Mexican pan dulce and offer a variety of other treats. In Nor Cal it is very difficult to find plant-based pan dulce of any type, so when vegans hear about us they get excited because they haven’t had any for x-amount of years. We’ve heard this story often, especially from those that share our heritage and grew up enjoying pan dulce with café or chocolate Mexicano. I know all too well the feeling of not being able to enjoy what the rest of the family eats during gatherings. Thus, it brings much joy and warmth, knowing that our products in a sense “re-unite” families around the breakfast/lunch/dinner table.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
San José is such a thriving and diverse city that I believe any vegan business would do well. There is community help, so I would suggest to tap into the city’s entrepreneur resources.

Contact Info:

  • Address: Japantown Farmer’s Market on Sundays
    357 East Taylor Street
    San José, CA 95112
  • Website: www.jaguarbaker.com
  • Email: alicia@jaguarbaker.com
  • Instagram: @jaguarbaker
  • Facebook: @jaguarbaker27


Image Credit:
Maricela Casas (sister)

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