By Rose Hopkins

I recently moved to Providence, RI from Boston to enjoy a little more outdoor space and to be closer to all the vegan options this city has to offer. Little did I know, Blush Bakeshop had just opened a brick & mortar a few minutes away from my new house. Having this vegan bakery so close by has been a dream come true. I never realized the range of delicious and complicated vegan baked goods I was missing out on (Pistachio and rose cronuts! Vegan breakfast sandwiches on homemade english muffins! Gorgeous cakes! Perfect sugar cookies, beautifully iced!). The range of options every time I go to Blush takes me by surprise.

Photo Credit: Blush’s Instagram

Since I love Blush so much, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down virtually with Sam, the owner and founder of Blush (and baker and cake decorator and more — Sam, who uses she/they pronouns, wears many hats), to chat about the bakery and their path to opening Blush

Sam has been vegan for about 10 years now and has enjoyed watching the rapid growth of new vegan options on the market. She grew up cooking and baking with her mom and grandma, especially around the holidays, and Sam always loved being in the kitchen feeling as though it came naturally as both a creative outlet and a fulfilling job. They were able to take culinary arts classes as early as high school and knew they wanted to go to culinary school one day. Sam graduated from Johnson and Wales, in Providence, with a degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. 

Sam recounted having to take a meat fabrication class and said it was, “too much for me to handle, even though I was still eating meat at the time.” This was one of the reasons that pushed Sam to bake, in addition to their love for cake decorating. If you go to Blush’s Instagram, you will see just how talented Sam is at cake decorating. 

Sam said that cakes are one of her favorite things to make because of the decorating; she was originally going to start a cake decorating shop because that was popular at the time (remember Cake Boss?) but ended up pivoting and starting a broader vegan bakery. Sam loves things that are super complicated, they said, “The more involved and lengthy the process, the better. I just really enjoy things that take multiple days, or like making laminated pastries and things like that.” 

Sam also enjoys the science and chemistry of baking. She can veganize anything at this point by making small adjustments and understands the different chemical reactions in her baking. I mean it when I say that there is something new every single time I walk into Blush. Have you ever had an everything-bagel-nut? I hadn’t until just a few weeks ago, after an employee recommended it, and my mind was blown.

Sam has always known that she wanted to be her own boss, “I don’t like people being in charge of me or being told what to do.” An old boss encouraged Sam to rent kitchen space and start getting her incredible creations out for the world to taste. Blush officially began in May of 2018 in a rental kitchen space focusing on deliveries and pickup. In December of 2019, Sam signed a lease with the goal of opening the brick & mortar by April 2020. Unfortunately, when the pandemic hit in early 2020, construction halted and Blush wasn’t able to move into their new space. 

Sam continued doing pick-up and deliveries to keep the brand alive, waking up early every weekend to go bake, package orders, and drive all around Rhode Island to deliver baked goods to people. Blush Bakeshop was finally able to open its doors in August 2020. 

Opening during the pandemic was challenging (as one might imagine), and Sam said they had a few slow moments in the winter. During this time they opened a cute little retail area where you can buy various pantry and refrigerated items, including some that are less available in grocery stores. It’s hard for me not to pick up at least one item from the pantry at Blush each time I’m there. Now that it has been a few months and the weather is warming up, Blush has seen a lot more traffic and even has their regulars. 

Photo Credit: Blush’s Instagram

In addition to all the delicious bakery items and breakfast sandwiches, Blush also offers soup, savory buns, pizza on Fridays, and is always experimenting with something new on the menu. Blush has a variety of non-dairy milks and flavored syrups to put in their coffee and tea offerings. My personal favorite is the maple cinnamon flavored latte and the matcha latte.

Sam hopes to get a refrigerated case one day, and I hope so too because listening to them talk about offering cheesecakes, pies, and fruit tarts really made me want some!

One of the reasons Sam picked Providence for Blush was that there is such a huge vegan market in the city and the network of small businesses is strong, “Everyone’s really supportive of each other and everybody helps market each other and do these cool collabs.” I’ve experienced this incredible collaboration of small businesses myself when I purchased a Vegan Valentine’s Day treat box from RI Food Fights, which included treats from Blush and various other vegan-friendly businesses in the area.

Blush Bakeshop is more than just tasty vegan treats. Walking into the adorable bakeshop with pink sofas and cute decor while being greeted by the friendly faces of the employees behind the counter always puts a smile on my face. If you’re in Providence, Blush is a must. I can’t wait to sit outside and enjoy my next latte and breakfast sandwich!

Rose (she/her) recently moved to Providence and has been feeling spoiled by all the amazing vegan restaurants and bakeries here. You can usually find her trying a new recipe in the kitchen, while feeding veggie scraps to her 3ft tall cat (he’s obsessed). Rose also love making cocktails and doing projects around the house. She started my path towards veganism due to food sensitivities and became fully vegan in 2018. 

You can follow Rose on Instagram @rosehop1!