Katelyn Sornik wanted something she could stuff in her purse to eat on the go. The problem? The 29-year-old Georgetown resident can’t eat most somethings.
“I had food poisoning and it messed up my whole system,” says Sornik, whose 2007 illness forced her to eliminate dairy, eggs, meat and gluten from her diet. “I couldn’t digest like I used to. A lot of my go-to foods were off the table.”
The sudden shift inspired her to learn to cook and start a blog — newkidontheveganblock.com — about her culinary adventures. That’s when she started experimenting to develop a snack bar she could actually stomach.
In search of protein, fiber and a chewy texture, Sornik blended almond butter, coconut, rolled oats, chia seeds and flax meal with fruits and spices. She added in rice cereal because, she says, “It breaks it apart, so it’s not such a brick of a bar.”
Sornik’s mostly organic creations were raw originally, but those weren’t any good when she couldn’t be near her fridge. Once she figured out a way to cook the bars at just the right time and temperature so they wouldn’t be “hard as a rock,” Sornik’s friends got a taste — and they persuaded her to start selling.
That’s how she started Kate Bakes (katebakesbars.com), which currently sells four flavors of the 220-calorie, 2-ounce bars for
$3 each: Banana Cinnamon Oatmeal, Chocolate Coffee, Sunflower Raisin Butter and Cardamom Date. Her successful Kickstarter campaign that ended July 31 netted her more than $5,000 to expand the line to include more flavors and add granola. Kate Bakes products have also just arrived at her first retailer, the Muse Cafe in the Corcoran Gallery (500 17th St. NW, toddgraysmuse.com).
The success is a sign to Sornik that she’s not the only one looking for easily portable vegan and gluten-free options.
“It’s a convenient food that’s made in a much more evolved way,” she says. Expect more evolution ahead.