The moon is out on a late night in the Huntridge neighborhood. Madeline Rubidoux pulls up to a driveway to meet a man who emerges from the darkness. She rolls her window down, swaps a box for cash, puts the car in “drive” and rolls away.
Such is the life of Downtown’s bread dealer.
Rubidoux, a former bread baker for Red Rock Casino and trained pastry chef and chocolatier from Switzerland, is used to making quick deals.
Her bread-baking business, Bread for the People, launched in January with a Go Fund Me campaign to cover start-up costs and kitchen rent. In the short time since then, her organic, non-GMO, vegan bread has garnered a cult following.
Originally, the fourth-generation Las Vegan had dreams to open a concept restaurant where everything was made in-house, from the bread to the beer. But, in 2014, plans changed when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
“Once I went through that, I realized I needed to start eating differently,” she explains. In 2015, she met her now-girlfriend who opened her eyes to the negative effects of consuming meat and dairy, sugar and preservatives. “I started to incorporate those changes into my style of cooking and transformed into a chef conscious of preservatives, sugar and other things I was putting into my body.”
The conscious baker wanted to provide healthy bread alternatives for others. “I realized a lot of restaurants and coffee shops here don’t have vegan options for bread, let alone organic options,” she says. Downtown—her home—was the perfect place to start dealing loaves, baguettes and other offerings.
With her Go Fund Me one-third of the way done, Rubidoux solidified deals with local restaurants that serve her bread, including VegeNation and the newly opened The Kitchen at Atomic. Fremont East coffeeshop PublicUs will soon carry her line.
Once she hits her goal of $3,000, she plans to get her mixer serviced, purchase new equipment and be fully stocked with ingredients to start a nest egg before she eventually opens up an official Bread for the People location.
In the meantime, Rubidoux continues to raise money while being Downtown’s bread dealer. With a loyal social media following (you can place your orders for Bread for the People directly on her Instagram, @breadforthepeople), she introduces a new bread line each week. She delivers in the Downtown area within 24 to 48 hours of ordering.
Currently, Rubidoux’s products feature herbs and flavorings from the local Bloomin Desert Herb Farm, and includes: sheets of focaccia (traditional and garlic and herb), green olive focaccia, garlic knot loaves, cinnamon rolls, a garden loaf made with a blend of a variety of herbs, baguettes, hoagies, potato buns and specialty lavender and rose loaves.
“People are becoming addicted to the bread,” she says, smiling.