GATO: Where it all started - Desserts & Cookies

gato founders with puddings

Did you know our first ever product was a dessert? We haven’t actually always been the cookie connoisseurs; this crazy journey all started with puddings! So, where are they? This summer we took the very hard decision to stop our beloved puds to focus on our cookie ranges. It’s the end of an amazing era and we thank everyone who’s been here since day one! Don’t worry, we have so many awesome things in the pipeline! If you loved our desserts, you should definitely try our cookies- they’re even more delish and as with everything we’ve ever created, they’re plant-based, gluten- free, 100% natural and baked to perfection!

gato and co pudding chocolate fondant

The first ever GÂTO product was a brainchild born in Charlotte’s tiny kitchen where she would cook up delicious plant-based, gluten-free treats like a tasty chocolate aubergine fondant which went on to become GÂTO’s first ever dessert! She would bring samples to dinner parties to ask her friends and family what they thought- she brought samples into the office every single Monday (best employee ever right 😉) and wouldn’t tell them that the puds were made with aubergine, just to see how they’d react without knowing. Everyone was super impressed with how delicious, gooey and indulgent they were and so she knew she was onto a winner!

Charlotte gato founder at first food market

With the backing of our friends and family, we decided we wanted to take it further and find out if others would enjoy our desserts. In May 2016, we did our first ever market at Blackheath Foodie Festival in London and had to design and sort all the branding & packaging in time. We knew it had to be catchy as this was the first time the public would see the brand of GÂTO. The market was a massive success, we loved every moment and so we knew we had created something special!

charlotte at selfridges sampling

Within half a year we confirmed our first EVER retailer! We launched in Selfridges in January 2017 and within a couple of weeks we became the top selling chilled dessert! How crazy, but even crazier; during this time, we were still baking each and every dessert by hand in a small, rented kitchen space in North London! Every Monday we would make a load of puddings with the help of Charlotte’s brother, Valentin, and ship them off for Selfridges.

charlotte and kim baking puddings

Soon after, we did a trade show and met loads of really cool people and brands in the Food & Drink industry! We met with lots of buyers, many of whom were interested in our desserts. The buyers from Sainsburys, Waitrose and Ocado all really wanted our products- we even had an invite to meet the Sainsbury’s buyer at 9am the next day! Sainsbury’s said yes (woohoo!) and so the race was on to find a manufacturer. We were still baking everything by hand, so now that we needed to produce enough for Sainsbury’s Nationwide, we had to scale up BIG TIME. We had to do absolutely everything ourselves including making the recipe suitable for large scale production (which is so much harder than you think eek), but we made it and it was AWESOME!

charlotte and kim on dragons den

It was these perfected desserts that we brought to the Dragons (for the inside scoop on Dragons Den click here). All 5 Dragons said they loved the taste of our puddings- we were blown away with their feedback! The desserts were perfect as a post- dinner pudding but we also wanted to be able to enjoy these treats on the go; so with this thinking we went on to create our grab and go dessert bites: chocolate fondant (using aubergine instead of butter- our original recipe!), salted caramel blondies and chocolate coconut brownie. These were sold in Sainsbury’s and were soo delish!

charlotte and kim and a big lorry full of boxes of cookies

We then decided we wanted to create vegan sweet treats you could munch all day, any day and throw in your bag for later (rather than need to stick in the fridge). So, we used our baking know-how; but staying true to our ethos (always vegan, gluten free & less sugar) to develop our first range of cookies. In April 2019, we launched our first cookie product; our mini Cookie Bites- the whole launch was a huge gamble for us and we had to invest a lot of our savings for packaging etc. so stakes were high. We were ecstatic to find out that Holland & Barrett wanted to launch our Cookie Bites in over 500 stores! Plus, the whole journey was documented on BBC One’s ‘One Day That Changed My Life’- what an honour and this was the start of our cookie collection.

charlotte and kim in planet organic with both ranges of cookies

The Cookie Bites were really taking off, so we wanted to take it to the next level and do something even more indulgent. We developed our Cookies ‘n’ Cream, which we actually wanted to launch as our first cookie product but at the time didn’t have the experience to do something so complicated, but now we did and so our Cookies ‘n’ Cream range were born! In January 2020, we launched them in Wholefoods, Planet Organic and Boots Nationwide. These were (and still are) such a hit – they quickly became a top seller woohoo! We are still so obsessed with them.

charlotte in boots with new protein cookies

At the start of 2020 our growth was crazy, people loved our cookies, and we were loving every moment! Then Covid hit and everything took a sudden turn. We had to make a really hard decision to protect the business and focus on one area in order to preserve cash. We decided to stop making our desserts and focus on cookies. It’s so sad and definitely the end of an amazing era but we think the business is stronger because of it. During this year we’ve had more time to work on our most innovative product yet, our Protein & Cream range! 2020 has been a rollercoaster and we thank everyone who’s come with us on this journey with us and we feel very blessed to be where we are today!

See you in 2021! Love,

charlotte and kims signature