Women Supporting Women In Food | Orlee Wertheim of Coco Market

Marissa Bronfman

What’s the status of your business? Did you have to pivot, go online, temporarily close?

Coco Market is open for business however definitely had to pivot quickly to ensure that we took every measure possible to keep our team and our customers safe. In February, we decided we were going to launch an e-commerce platform and put in place a 4 month plan to make it happen. Once we decided to limit traffic in the store we realized we would have to get our offering online pretty quickly and did so in a matter of days. So we are now open online 24/7 for customers to order delivery as well as curbside pick-up. We also recently reopened the store to allow customers to come in and shop. It's so great seeing familiar faces again! 

We also noticed early on that our customer's purchasing patterns had changed so we started carrying produce and more frozen foods while reducing our fresh baked goods and salads.  And things are constantly evolving so we are noticing new patterns every week as people adjust to the new "normal". Stay tuned for some fun new offerings :)

What’s been the hardest part of this pandemic for you?

Definitely not seeing friends, family and customers. I miss being in the store, talking to customers and working with our team in person. Of course, home schooling has not been easy as well!

What can we as a community do for you?

Shop local and support small business! We are so lucky that there are so many amazing Toronto-based businesses in the wellness space and they need our support to grow and be successful.  

What advice would you give women?

I think right now it's extremely important to be open to new ways of approaching all aspects of our lives. Our world is changing so rapidly and we need to consider new ways of approaching our jobs, businesses and home life. What might have worked well three months ago might not work now, so it's essential to try new things and recognize that things might not be perfect and we just need to learn and grow from our experiences.

What is your greatest hope right now?

My greatest hope is that we are able to get through this as quickly as possible with as little suffering as possible. My heart breaks when I hear of all the people suffering in different ways and I hope that we as a community do everything we can to minimize the virus' impact.

What are the 3 things keeping you sane?

1. Virtual workouts with Catalyst Health and pilates sessions with Movement Boutique are the #1 thing keeping me sane right now. Also loving my Peloton cycling classes.

2. Early morning walks. I have been discovering all the amazing walking trails around the neighbourhood and I love mornings so this is my peaceful time.

3. Dreaming of all the places I will travel to on the other side of this! 

What’s your favorite plant-based recipe?

Currently obsessed with Nutritional Yeast Crusted Tofu with Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Ketchup as a dip. It's perfect as a snack or part of a meal.


  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of each of salt and pepper
  • coconut oil spray


  • Press your tofu to drain any liquid and cut into slices 
  • Mix nutritional yeast, garlic powder and salt + pepper in a small bowl
  • Spray tofu with coconut oil and dip each strip in the nutritional yeast mixture to coat
  • Bake in oven at 375C for 20 minutes, flipping half way through
  • Delicious dipped in Primal Kitchen Unsweetened Ketchup or Good Food for Good BBQ Sauce 


We are committed to representing a much greater diversity of BIPOC women in this series and are now asking every female food founder we feature to spotlight a BIPOC woman from their own network.

Jenné Claiborne from Sweet Potato Soul is my constant vegan food inspiration. Absolutely love her recipes and we eat her better-than-Chipotle burrito bowl at least weekly. IG @sweetpotatosoul



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