Corey Ginou Ferguson started baking at her grandmother’s knee. She spent many happy hours in her Baba’s kitchen learning the joys of Macedonian cooking. “Baba was a rebel in the kitchen,” says Corey. “She didn’t use recipes and she measured with soup bowls and teacups, using whatever ingredients she had on hand. Her food was always a delicious surprise made with so much love. Food is love for Macedonians. I would sit for hours as a child on the little sofa in her kitchen and watch her cook.” For Corey, cooking was a chore, but “Baba changed that for me. Art and baking are my passions.”
It was always Corey’s dream to start her own baking business, but that dream had to wait for a while.
The would-be baker first pursued a career in art, graduating from OCAD, and began a career as a successful graphic designer and art director. Throughout the ’90s, she worked for many of the big advertising agencies, and on major campaigns. Meanwhile, Corey and her husband Geordie moved into an apartment in Leaside and then bought a house on Parkhurst when they were expecting, eventually ending up on Cameron Crescent for the last eight years. She saw a son and a daughter through Bessborough Elementary and Middle School and volunteered her services at the school (she did the Bessborough school yearbook for many years), Leaside Matters and other local community organizations.
With her kids growing up and so much changing in the world of advertising, it occurred to Corey that maybe she could combine her passions. It was time to make a move. She completed pastry school and got her qualifications, business plan and certifications in line. Ironically, the hardest part was designing her logo!
Keeping it local
After much planning and testing, Corey landed at Manning Canning Kitchen, Leaside’s local commercial kitchen on Vanderhoof (www.manningcanning.com) where she books regular baking sessions. Manning Canning is a collaborative model providing support, space, storage and consulting services for new food entrepreneurs. Corey absolutely loves it there, saying “I’m so happy when I’m in the kitchen.” She started her online profile and dropped samples to friends. By this past November she was ready to go.
The freshly minted commercial baker launched Rebel Baker at the November @sheshopsswap (Leasider Vicki Hall’s latest clothing swap event), then popped up at a holiday market in North York and the Arts & Style Market at the Amsterdam Brewery in December. Local entrepreneur and Bessborough mum Jenn Avveduto @thejenxproject produced Corey’s custom food labels, all her display materials, including her Rebel Baker apron. The launch was an all-round success and completely Leaside grown!
To keep things fresh, Corey plans to bake by theme with sets of offerings in an online bakeshop. Follow her at @realrebelbaker or join her mailing list at for tips on seasonal baking and what’s coming out of the Rebel oven. Each batch also features an item with proceeds for charity, mostly local food banks. A website is coming in the new year.
What’s delicious? Try her Leaside Hockey bars, a popular mix of caramel, chocolate and Skor bits, or her lemon and ginger loaves. New specialties handed down and modified from her mother, Baba and all her Macedonian aunts are coming soon.
The Rebel Baker was born and launched in honour of Corey’s grandmother. “She’s the original rebel who inspired me to develop my passion for the kitchen,” she says, “but I am carrying the torch.”