T here is a very friendly baker at the Seaport Farmers' Market who you should pay a visit to. Elaine Sphair wakes up at 4am to bake delicious the Brazilian treats that she sells every other week, on Mondays and Tuesdays at the market. There you'll find her spread of freshly made pão de queijo (a gluten-free Brazilian cheese bread that is the tastiest snack you'll ever discover), brigadeiros (dark chocolate and coconut truffles), gooey coconut cake and doughnuts filled with doce de leite or custard cream. These delicacies are so rare to find in Halifax, let alone Nova Scotia, and Sphair is happy to be sharing the taste of Brazil with her customers.
Her new business, Elaine's Brazilian Bakery, is a part of Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia's Bridge to Entrepreneurship pilot program, which supports immigrant entrepreneurs in bringing their businesses to life. Sphair immigrated to Canada in 2017 with her family and comes from a bank management background, but a love for baked goods fed her drive to switch careers months before she arrived in Canada.
"I was already planning on changing jobs when I got here. So a few months before my move to Canada, I started working in my brother-in-law's bakery where I could learn several baking and cooking techniques," she says. "The opportunity to open Elaine's Brazilian Bakery came along with the ISANS organization, where I study English every day in the morning."
She also attends business-based courses four times a week through the pilot entrepreneurship program, which provides space at its incubator table/market stand at no cost to clients. This is where you can find vendors like Sphair selling their products and practicing their English in conversation with market-goers.
"I do everything with a lot of love," says Sphair of her one-month-old business. Over time, she hopes to work towards running a permanent market stall and, eventually, a stand-alone bakery. "I love cooking and I believe that food brings people together."