Jeff Perera runs his bagel business from his home kitchen.
| 10:04 a.m. December 21, 2019
When it comes to bagels, the New York variety is one of a kind — and a Horizon West resident bakes them fresh every day out of his home kitchen.
Jeff Perera bakes fresh-to-order New York-style bagels and bagel holes for pickup or delivery through his business, Jeff’s Bagel Run. He offers seven different flavors for his bagels and bagel holes: plain, everything, sesame, salt, onion, poppy and garlic. H
e also has other flavors in the works.
“I think the biggest component of a New York-style bagel is its distinctive crunchy outside and chewy inside,” Perera said. “Most New York-style bagels are boiled, and if you’re not boiling it, it’s really hard to meet the consistency of a New York-style bagel.”
Jeff’s Bagel Run was born out of an unfortunate circumstance. After losing his job working in the senior-living industry in August, his wife — who was a stay-at-home mom — went back to work full time, and he ended up switching roles with her and became a stay-at-home dad.
“With her going back to work and me staying home, it gave us a lot of comfort in who was taking care of the kids and things like that,” Perera said. “Jeff’s Bagel Run was born out of the idea that we can do it from home.”
Although he enjoyed being home with their young children, Perera wanted to find a way to supplement the family income that also allowed him to be at home for their children. A home baker of desserts and sweets, he turned to the savory side of baking and researched making bagels after he realized there wasn’t a place in the Horizon West area that offered fresh-baked, New York-style bagels. After weeks of experimenting with recipes, Jeff’s Bagel Run was born.
“I just started baking,” Perera said. “I baked with my mom growing up. I baked sweets around the house. I had a really awesome cookie bar that I made, but I never baked bread. The first dough from scratch that I ever made was my first batch of bagels, and it was terrible. … My wife (was) really supportive in the process, and I practiced a lot. I made a lot of bagels — had a lot of bad bagels, some good bagels — until I found a recipe that worked.”
Perera began taking orders on Nov. 11, and it didn’t take long for the orders to start piling in. Thanks to the power of social media and word of mouth through the many moms of Horizon West, Perera’s orders for the month of December soon booked up completely.
“I honestly didn’t know this was going to happen as quickly (and) as fast as it did, yet here we are,” he said. “A neighbor, who had been a taste tester, ended up having a party at her home and she had requested some of the (bagel) holes. … The next thing I know, I start getting flooded with Facebook messages from women who were at the party she was hosting. A lot of them were moms who my wife had previously been around and participated with in mom groups. The power of the mom network in West Orange County is pretty strong; especially on Facebook and especially in Horizon West.”
He may have only been in business for a little more than a month, but the demand for Perera’s bagels already is through the roof. He goes through 150 pounds of flour each week. His bagel-baking process begins during the early morning hours, and each batch takes about a day to make. It’s a labor-intensive process, but it’s a labor of love that allows Perera to be home for his children while continuing to help support his family.