Chef Tim Veatch bakes for more than six hours through the night to bring fresh baked goods to his various pop-up locations in the morning.
Veatch, owner and baker behind Wayward Baking, sells a variety of homemade breads and pastries at Field Day Coffee from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Thursday, and at Fable Soap Co. from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Sunday.
“People always tell me, ‘It looks so good!’” Veatch said. “And I say, ‘You know what? It tastes better.’”
From 2 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., Veatch bakes his homemade products, just in time for his pop-up location for the morning.
“The products are as fresh as they possibly can be,” Veatch said.
Veatch said he started his culinary journey when, while working at a grocery store, he thought the cakes were “just trash.” He wanted to make a better cake.
After attending California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and pastry school for wedding cake decoration, Veatch bounced around between jobs as pastry chef, savory cook and even a cook in high-end Michelin star restaurants.
When Veatch ended up on the Central Coast as an executive chef, finding what he called “elevated food” was a challenge.
“I decided to take a stab at something different, something people would enjoy and that I could do very well.” That something was establishing Wayward Baking in 2017.
What began as an email list about Wayward Baking’s product availability and pop-up locations grew to include over 400 people. Veatch now reaches most of his clientele on his Instagram page @waywardbaking, curated by his wife and Fable Soap Co. owner, Jeriel Sydney.
The chef said he puts flavor first, texture second and appearance third.
“If it doesn’t taste good, and it’s not interesting on your palate, it doesn’t matter what it looks [like],” Veatch said. “[Fable Soap Co.] is my favorite pop-up location, because we have a built clientele, there’s drip coffee and everyone hangs out. It’s a community that’s developed there.”
Bread prices range from $8 to $12, while croissants and pastries are between $3 and $6.
“The menu is variable,” Veatch said. “I try things out and test them. I’m really just trying to dial in my product line and make sure I’m making things that this community wants to have.”
Veatch said, generally, the menu consists of eight to 12 types of croissant or danish-style pastries, three or four types of bread and various cakes.
“None of the other stuff would exist if the bread didn’t,” Veatch said. “And the croissants and French pastries — you can’t get that anywhere else around here.”
Veatch said what sets Wayward Baking apart from a regular grocery store loaf is the ingredients. He sources Central Milling flour and local Los Osos yeast strains.
“It’s just a really fun thing to be able to make a product that a lot of people have turned their back on — a staple of life — and make it really nutritious,” he said.
Psychology senior Aava Salehi said she spotted a Wayward Baking Instagram post, and the next day, she and her roommates drove to the pop-up in Los Osos.
“I would have been down to buy everything, it all looked so good,” Salehi said.
Salehi said the sticky bun and the poppyseed passionfruit bread that she tried were “fresh and flavorful.” At Wayward Baking, she said she felt like she was buying with intention, unlike how she feels in a grocery store.
Since moving to San Luis Obispo seven months ago, local resident Shannon Pressler said she has been searching for a high-quality local bakery and that she was thrilled to find Wayward Baking on Instagram.
“I snuck out of work right when [Wayward Baking] arrived at [Field Day Coffee] at 9 a.m. and bought a box of croissants,” Pressler said. “They were even better than they looked, and I’m definitely going to make a point to visit future pop-ups.”
Veatch said he hopes to open a Wayward Baking storefront in Los Osos in the near future.
“You know when you can tell that someone makes things with love and passion?” Salehi said. “That’s how [Veatch’s] baking felt — like it had meaning.”