Jenne Vailoces inherited her love of baking from her mother while being raised in the Philippines. When she came to Chicago, she used that passion to offer her talents to the public after opening Jennivee’s Bakery.
Outside of its convenient location near Chicago’s Boystown and Wrigleyville neighborhoods and her signature purple velvet cake, Jennivee’s Bakery is special for one very important reason: it’s the first bakery in Chicago to be owned by a transgender Filipina woman.
“I want this to be the bakery that the LGBT people in Chicago can proudly call their own,” Vailoces told DNAInfo. “My No. 1 passion is baking, and I’m a transgender woman who is also very passionate about trans and LGBT issues. So I wanted to share a part of (both) my passions.”
Vailoces doesn’t actually have any formal baking or business training. She works full-time as a physical therapist in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood and only opens the 800-square-foot bakery from 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays. However, her passion to both bake and support the LGBTQ community inspired her to take a leap of faith.
The inspiration to open a bakery of her own apparently came after bakeries began refusing to accommodate same-sex loving couples looking to get cakes and desserts for their weddings.
“I know what it feels like to be discriminated against,” she told Balitang America. “And I want bring that message of hope to everyone that everyone deserves love, acceptance, and everybody deserves desserts!”
While there are many bakeries in Chicago that have absolutely no problem supporting the LGBTQ community, Vailoces still feels that her bakery will stand out above the rest.
“A lot of Chicago bakeries go the European or French patisserie route,” Vailoces said. “They do classic, little, pretty French pastries like macarons, which I think is adorable, but I wand to do something different.”
Vailoces is hoping to take advantage of crowds traveling back and forth between popular neighborhood locations and nearby CTA train stations. With the warmer months coming up, they’ll be able to enjoy 2 a.m. closing times on the weekends and outdoor seating along the sidewalk.