Love Your Local: Raglan Bagels Was Born of a Pandemic Career Change


Steve Dube spends his days listening to heavy metal music in the kitchen and baking dozens of artisan bagels.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Steve Dube spends his days listening to heavy metal music in the kitchen and baking dozens of artisan bagels.

Steve Dube spends his days alone in Raglan’s community kitchen, blasting heavy metal music and cooking hundreds of handmade artisan bagels.

The 40-year-old, who moved from Montreal north of Waikato seven years ago, launched Raglan Bagels amid the pandemic in April last year.

At first there were only 100 bagels a week, but a year later it averaged 1000.

“I’m amazed. If you had asked me a year ago if I was going to make bagels and sell them for a living, I would have said no,” Dube said, with a corny smile.

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Before Covid-19 hit New Zealand shores, Dube worked as a production manager for Raglan Food Co., but in a sudden career change he decided to try his hand at studying accounting during the lockdown.

He was good with numbers and wanted to do something new – but it was boring.

Thus, Raglan Bagels was born.

Dube had been making Montreal-style bagels at home for his family and friends for years.

His partner suggested he try it full time and see what happens.

Steve Dube started making 100 bagels a week in April last year.  Now it's 1000.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Steve Dube started making 100 bagels a week in April last year. Now it’s 1000.

He spent hours upon hours during lockdown watching YouTube videos and cooking in his kitchen by trial and error to find his own signature recipe.

Dube said it was important that her recipes were vegan because Raglan had a large community of people who did not eat meat or animal products.

He described them “bee-gan” because they were boiled in water with honey, but were otherwise vegan.

The honey gave the taste of Montreal bagels, he said. But they were the size and density of New York bagels, with a smaller hole.

With a crisp, brown exterior, her bagels were soft and chewy on the inside – and had the flavor coated on both sides.

Dube graduated from his home kitchen at the Old School Art Center once the lockdown lifted, but there was only a regular oven.

He was limited to 15 bagels per batch and spent long days and nights in the kitchen cooking.

Steve Dube bakes about 200 to 300 bagels a week in the kitchen at the Old School Art Center in Raglan.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Steve Dube bakes about 200 to 300 bagels a week in the kitchen at the Old School Art Center in Raglan.

Dube started a Givealittle page to raise money for a shop with its own kitchen, but there were no premises available in Raglan – so he bought a large oven instead.

Now he can cook 50 at a time and average about 200-300 a day.

He sells them both to cafes and supermarkets in the area, as well as to himself, but with a range of toppings on Bow St in Raglan.

Steve Dube's bagels were soft and chewy on the inside, with a crisp, brown exterior.

MARK TAYLOR/Stuff

Steve Dube’s bagels were soft and chewy on the inside, with a crisp, brown exterior.

He rents the premises, and sells bagels there from Thursday to Sunday, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

People could get cream cheese on their bagel, pastrami, barbecued jackfruit, or the newest option — a BLT.

“It was just a good idea, I didn’t think I’d be paying bills with it. Now it’s my only job, and it’s great.

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