Dan and Will Neville-Rehbehn are ready to become parents.
They met in 2009, just as Will was considering a move back to his native Salt Lake City. Food is an integral part of their relationship—they had their first date at Firefly, they hold dinner parties for friends, they explore restaurants, find dishes they like, then rush home to recreate them. Will is cooking his way through an entire Momofuku cookbook.
In 2010 they were engaged, and in 2011 they held a wedding and reception at the Park Hyatt, planned around a family style dinner from Blue Duck Tavern and featuring a cake from none other than Momofuku. The dinner was “socially engineered” so that strangers would get to know each other while passing food around the table. Guests left with a homemade apple pie in a jar made by Will and his mom.
“[We] use food and cooking as a way to bring people we love together to celebrate,” said Will. “Our entire relationship has been based around food as the catalyst for bringing people together.”
Last year Dan and Will began to discuss the startling reality of how two young professionals, given the logistics, legal issues and science for LGBT families, could become parents.
First came the discussion of their options: adoption or IVF and surrogacy (for the record, Dan and Will are moving in the direction of the latter). And then the moment of facing the costs for agencies, medical costs, lawyers.
When friends and family learned of their plans, they immediately began to ask how they could help.
“It’s hard to admit you need that kind of help, especially as something fundamental as staring a family,” said Will. “Accepting donations was something I was having a hard time doing.”
Will and Dan began a “spending lock-down” and accepted some help from family, but conversations with good friends and mentors turned into insistence that they be allowed to help shoulder the burden.
“It started off as a joke,” said Will, “sure, we’ll have a bake sale. I cook for the people I adore and I bake for the people I care about. This is how I express love.” It could be a “tangible form of gratitude.”
So on New Year’s Day, the couple found the courage to launch Will’s Bake Sale, a site where family and friends can purchase homemade baked goods from Will and Dan, while also making a donation to their baby fund.
The response has been overwhelming. The couple are receiving support from more than family and friends, they are connecting with people who simply want to share encouragement.
Since they both already work full-time jobs, for Will and Dan, the bake sale isn’t a business. Once an order is placed, you can expect to receive your baked goods within a three- to four-week window. Will said he will try to meet the requests of friends who ask for their treat on special occasions, like a birthday cake he made this weekend. He’s also discovering new recipes to meet the dietary needs of vegan and gluten free friends.
Will’s favorite treat on the site is the Margarita Layer Cake, a homemade combination of crunchy, creamy, sweet, salty flavors. You can even buy pottery bakeware from Will’s mom—she makes the pie plates and Will fills them with pie.
“Not to brag, but it’s pretty damn good.”
For now, Dan and Will are looking at starting the surrogacy and IVF process in the next few months, thanks to the help of family, friends and some delicious baked goods.
“These little ways food works its way into your life, reminding you of people you love, it’s humbling. It’s been an amazing way to move our dreams forward.”
And that’s just icing on the cake.