Renay Intisar Jihad, Owner of Intisar’s Gourmet Desserts, is a passionate baker of a soul food pie, creator of a fabulous Instant pie mix using Judee’s quality ingredients, and a published author. Her products have been sold all over the country. Let’s get a close-up look at this budding entrepreneur.

Tell us about yourself...

I’ve had a love of baking from the time I was in middle school. Whenever my maternal grandmother would visit, she would ask, "What'cha cook today, Nay?". Disappointing her was not an option. I'd have oatmeal or chocolate chip cookies ready for her, and she always showered me with compliments. So, the joy of sharing treats with others fueled a lifelong passion for baking. My paternal grandmother also inspired this love - she made the best pound cake imaginable. I have been married for nearly a half-century, and we have four sons and eleven grandchildren and gatherings include food and fun. I have been cooking all of my life and creating something new and experimenting with ingredients brought me to where I am today with my original product.

What do you like about Judee's ingredients?

It took me years of experimenting to find the right product ingredients. Judee’s could make products that simulate fresh ingredients. Goat milk, heavy cream, butter, and gluten-free products are excellent examples of Judee’s ability to simplify baking without compromising texture, taste, and nutrition. As a manufacturer of an original dessert based on a 100-year-old recipe rooted in the culture of black Americans, it was essential to capture the taste and texture perfectly. My customers are happy with the results.

What is your favorite holiday or event to bake for?

Thanksgiving brings everyone together without considering race, religion, or geographical location. It celebrates an attitude of gratitude, supports the mindset of giving and charity, and inspires people to show off their culinary skills. Sharing is caring, and food is a love language shared by all. Aroma, taste, and texture conjure up fond memories of good times. Comfort food becomes synonymous with hugs, laughter, and fun.

What is a baking tip you wish everyone knew?

“Baking my bread became more of a necessity after being diagnosed with celiac disease. I love bagels and craved a good one. Judee’s Gluten Free Bread Flour makes delicious bagels and bread. I watched a ton of YouTube videos on baking bread before, during, and after transitioning to gluten-free products. I would advise checking out instructional videos on baking, paying attention to baking techniques, reading product reviews, and following the recipes closely.”

What is the most rewarding part of baking for you?

Today, it is sharing the results with the community. Because of this journey, I now feel more connected. I retired from teaching after thirty years, and launching a business at seventy-two is commendable. I take part in many local events through the pop-up store. Immediate feedback energizes me and repeat customers are fantastic. Creating new products, such as the vegan version of our mix, is satisfying because you are catering to the customer's needs. We cannot understate the joy of sharing.

Where do you draw inspiration for your baking from?

I collaborate with and provide support to like-minded individuals in my local community. Entrepreneurs,  manufacturers, restaurant owners, micro-business owners, and local vendors are role models, offering inspiration. Intisar's Instant Navy Bean Pie Mix pays homage to the predominantly female bakers who supported schools, restaurants, and bookstores meant to uplift our community during the early years of the struggle. This pie was one of many anchors and I want to make this dessert a household product.

Judee's Promise

Our Ohio facility is guaranteed Gluten-Free and Nut-Free.