As Melbourne and the rest of the world went into lockdown in March 2020, Erik Koel, a native of Toronto, Canada, shuttered his Healesville café, Hominy Southern Kitchen. While he pondered what to do next, a phone call from a friend looking for hot cross buns for his cafe launched Erik down the path to opening Bear Bagels and Baked Goods.

Meet the Founder

Meet the Founder

Having started his career bussing tables at a restaurant owned by the parents of a childhood friend when he was 13 years old, Erik has always been in and around the hospitality industry. He worked as a chef in his hometown, in Melbourne and Canberra, but it was landing a role as a junior baker in Canberra that sparked Erik’s love of baking. This led to moving back to Melbourne for work and eventually to Healesville.

In 2021, after nearly a year of baking out of his home kitchen for a growing list of wholesale clients and several markets, it was time to set up shop properly. And in the middle of lockdowns, reopenings, and being locked down again, Bear Bagels and Baked Goods — thanks to the amazing support of locals, crowd-funders and friends — opened its doors.

Why ‘Bear’ Bagels?
Because Erik’s Canadian, and they have bears there.