Steve Lewis perfects the recipe for success with Gideon’s Bakehouse

“The Exalted Prince of the Esoteric Order of Cake” himself — photo credit Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

This is almost a guarantee. Every day when Fournil de Gédéon opens its doors, people from all over the world are ready to line up for their pistachio and caramel chocolate cake or triple chocolate cake. All cakes at the Orlando-based bakery are made by hand – no machines! – and production takes 24 hours.

Steve Lewis, Gideon’s owner and “Prince Sublime of the Esoteric Order of the Biscuit,” says he sometimes finds a low point in the store or on the balcony of a neighboring restaurant. The self-proclaimed introvert enjoys seeing customers’ reactions when they discover Gideon’s cakes and pastries.

“I work hard to avoid pride and ego in my life, but I admit it’s satisfying to see how things turn out,” says Lewis, a trained musician with no formal baking training.

Humble beginnings

No one but owner Steve Lewis knows the exact recipes for his cakesOwner Steve Lewis Nobody Knows the Exact Recipes for His Cakes – Photo by Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

According to Lewis, she started cooking in New York as a teenager because she found it a stress reliever. His early dreams of becoming a musician ended in the late 1990s after a failed hand operation. It was then that Lewis moved to Orlando to open a comic book store and art gallery. At events at her gallery, she would bake and hand out cookies that, years later, people would line up for hours to buy.

Over time, Lewis expanded the cookie repertoire to six flavors and began selling them from her home kitchen. Word of his designs spread, and in 2016 Lewis was invited to open a temporary pop-up at Eastern Market in Orlando. Gideon’s Bakery was born.

Lewis had a baker working with him and an operating budget of $800.

“I didn’t think I could make it with a small selection of time-consuming cakes,” admits Lewis. “I was wrong for a while. »

Lines formed even on the first day of business.

“After talking to the previous pop-up, I had a general expectation of daily sales, so I figured I had three weeks of dough ready,” Lewis says.

Everything left on the first day at 1 pm.

At the end of each work day, Lewis would take all his money, go to Costco and buy ingredients, then stay up all night and prepare for the next day.

“It was one of those moments in your life where you look back and wonder how the hell you did it,” says Lewis.

Dreaming of Disney

A decadent chocolate cake topped with peanut butter cupsDecadent Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter Cups on Top — Photo Credit Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

Not surprisingly, Lewis was offered a permanent lease at East End Market. That’s where Central Florida fans learned the story of Gedeon’s, which takes its name from a cookbook Lewis bought in the early 2000s. The name “Gideon” was written on the back of the young boy.

Lewis began talking to people at Walt Disney World about opening a second bakery at the resort. In June 2020, amid the global pandemic, a second Gideon’s Bakery opened in Disney Springs. Lewis was unwavering in his commitment to authenticity, even in his bakery designs. It describes the Disney Springs location as a former Victorian bakery that pays homage to the legacy of late 1800s cookbooks, and answers the question, “What did this creepy little kid’s bakery look like?”

“I wanted guests to know right away that this was Gideon, with our gargoyle on the roof, weathered lettering on the bricks, and old books and antiques in the windows with desserts,” Lewis says.

Gideon's iconic gargoyle witnessed long queues at the popular bakeryGideon’s signature gargoyle has seen long lines at the popular bakery – photo credit Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

The bakery is also inspired by old homes where Lewis lived, artist Edward Gore and Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Candles and spooky artwork decorate the interior.

All of Gideon’s baked goods remain true to Lewis’ vision. He is the only one who knows the exact recipes. The only hint she offers is that her baked goods probably contain less sugar than you think. (Butter is another story.) Lewis admits he likes to see copied recipes online; He has yet to see anyone succeed.

Lewis says it took him 15 years to master the chocolate cake recipe.

“Gideon is so personal because it represents the many changes in my life and the love I’ve lost,” Lewis said. “This cookie and I have been through so much together. I still struggle to think like a business. It’s really a personal expression.

Gideon's Epic Chocolate CakeGideon’s Epic Chocolate Cake – Photo Credit to Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

Also, Luis does not send his cookies.

“It would probably make you rich, but happiness is more important and shipping desserts is a nightmare,” he says, adding that visiting his store is part of the experience. “I want people to see and feel the escape of space and the art and traditions that live there. I also want to say hi to you personally and let you know how grateful I am that you are interested in my post.

“Before Gideon sinks into the darkness, we can talk about the latest Marvel movie or share photos of our pets,” says Lewis.

A spooky wall of portraits inspired by author-artist Edward Gore and Disney's Haunted MansionA spooky wall of portraits inspired by author-artist Edward Gore and Disney’s Haunted Mansion — photo by Steve Lewis, Gideon’s Bakery

The former musician has come a long way since giving away the coveted cookies and paying his dues. Lewis now runs a bakery in one of the world’s most popular destinations, producing up to 7,000 cakes a day with 170 employees.

No matter how great his output, Lewis insists on being authentic. He is still the sole owner of Gideon’s Bakehouse and the only person who manages social media for the company.

Lewis belongs to Gideon.

“Experience is what matters at Gideon’s Bakery,” he says. “Food is a fantastic maker of lifelong memories. If you are new to us, please plan a trip to see us. We look forward to meeting you.

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