What started out as a couple working in the Toronto food business in 1986 has blossomed over 35 years into a successful catering company and food shop that mostly gets its loyal regulars via word of mouth.
Rob’s Good Food now has a home tucked away in East York as a small boutique food shop, but founder Rob Hudyma and his partner in life and business Colleen started out operating a premier catering company called Catered Affare Cuisine and Event Design, known for weddings as well as corporate and social events.
A fixture at local events and festivals, 12 years ago the pair started popping up at local farmers’ markets.
“It was at this time when many people said, ‘Is there somewhere else we can buy your products when the markets end?'” Hudyma tells blogTO.
So, around three years ago, the couple opened their own little shop in their present location dubbed Rob’s Good Food, which also housed their Affare catering operation for all those years.
“Initially the concept was to emulate European-style establishments where you can just pop in and grab something sweet or savoury and leave,” says Hudyma.
“My oldest daughter lives in Europe and during our visits there these types of stores were everywhere. I liked the concept a lot.”
Devotees come to the shop for scones, butter tarts, meat pies and soups, as well as the seasonal menus Rob’s has become known for.
They typically prepare menus for holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and St. Patrick’s Day, and always have ready-to-bake options that Hudyma calls both “classic and interesting.”
“I don’t advertise very much as I think word of mouth is best,” says Hudyma.
The couple’s catering background and their amazing local ingredients allow their products to speak for themselves in such a way that people keep coming back for more, and they’re also always coming up with new ideas.
“With my catering background, scaling back to smaller batch production is different to say the least,” says Hudyma.
“It also gives me more time to create interesting new food trends and incorporate some of the best ingredients Toronto has to offer.”
Travelling home, Hudyma says he feels like he passes through 15 different countries he can incorporate into his products.
They use traditional candied meat for their mincemeat pies, and local Stirling butter is used for pastries.
“With Christmas coming up, it’s shortbread season,” says Hudyma. “Quite simply, I think our is the best. The quality of the butter is the main reason and I use Stirling 84 for our cookies and biscotti.”
Rob’s does stuffed scones with pumpkin, lemon almond curds and sour cherry, and is looking to jump on the stuffed cookie trend.
Early next year they’re also launching a bottled sauce line that will include hot sauces, condiments and marinades.
They extend their hours just for the holiday season, so if you’re looking for a way to support local, lighten your load during a stressful time and try something new, check out what’s going on at Rob’s.