NONA Vegan was founded by Sauce Boss Kailey Gilchrist, as a tribute to her late mother.
“This is how Italians get facials,” my mother would say while leaning over and shaking the strainer, steam from the freshly cooked pasta rising up to meet her cheeks.”
To provide delicious plant-based foods that bring the comfort and nourishment of an Italian mama’s home cooking.
To unite a global community with the shared values of kindness, inclusion, and a love of good food.
My mom immigrated to Canada from Italy when she was 7 years old. Growing up, I spent countless hours in the kitchen with her, learning my Nonna’s secret recipes and inventing recipes of our own. My mother was also a vegan during her “hippie years”. Fifteen years ago when I decided to go vegan, she returned to a vegan diet with me. She loved to nourish people with her delicious food, and I have inherited this passion wholeheartedly. Her vegan Alfredo, in particular, was a special meal that I always looked forward to when returning from university and world travels, eager for a little taste of home.
My mother passed away in 2011. After her death, I longed for the special times that we had shared in the kitchen, and for the comfort of her meals. So, I began to make her sauce, myself. Cooking has this way of bringing back memories of loved ones. Certain flavours, aromas and sensations have the power to send you right back to treasured moments. It almost felt like, with every batch of sauce I made, I was inviting my mom back into my kitchen, to share in the loving act of cooking with me.
As I continued to cook, NONA Vegan was born. What started as a little heart-powered, one- sauce business out of a home kitchen has, over the years, become so much more. I have been grateful to receive a lot of love and support from our local Ontario community, and from folks far and wide throughout Canada. NONA has had the honour of receiving the “Best of Fest” Award at the Toronto Mac and Cheese Festival, as well as the “Favourite Artisanal Product” award from the Toronto Vegetarian Association. We have enjoyed expanding into new retailers and adding new flavours to our sauce family.
And, how about now? Well, here I am, 7 years into the sauciest adventure of my life, still growing and changing, and very grateful for this journey every day. Thanks so much for stopping by to read NONA’s origin story. Please feel free to pop over to some other pages, to learn more about us and what we can offer you.
– Kailey Gilchrist, Sauce Boss, NONA Vegan Foods Ltd.