Gluten-free now in the Sault (7 photos)Sunday, April 28, 2013 by: Connie Carello
Finally, a gluten-free alternative is available for local residents and can be found in the basement of the Healing Arts Centre at 426 Bruce Street.
Owner and operator of the new “Nothin Gluten Bakery” Justine Precepa is motivated to change things in Sault Ste. Marie by introducing a widely accepted and popular concept that is used down south in more populated regions.
“In Toronto,” Precepa said, “there is a Gluten free shop on every corner! One in every district! There is no reason why Sault Ste. Marie should not have one here."
Originally majoring in painting and drawing at the Ontario College of Art and Design, Precepa changed her mind and decided to enter the chef training and culinary management program at Sault College.
After completing the two year program at the top of her class, Precepa worked in several cooking establishments before deciding to become her own boss.
“I realized there was this huge demand growing for Gluten-free food; especially since there are not a lot of options in store for people who have celiac disease. There are many people in this city who are allergic to gluten or who have had to remove it from their diet. It really is a huge topic shaking this city and I want my customers to feel safe coming to me” Precepa said.
According to the Canadian Celiac Association, Celiac disease is defined as a medical condition where the absorptive surface of the small intestine is damaged by the consumption of Gluten.
As a result, the body is unable to absorb nutrients and vitamins which are beneficial.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely and is a component to ensure that baked goods bind together without crumbling.
For this reason, Gluten can be found in many processed and packaged goods.
For those who suffer from this condition, they are encouraged to avoid Gluten entirely as there is no cure.
More than 333,000 Canadians are believed to be affected by Celiac disease with only approximately 110,000 diagnosed.
“I have found the experience to be rewarding because I really am making people happy. There was one woman who came in who had been unable to eat pierogies in over twenty years due to her condition. She phoned me crying just to tell me that she could not believe the pierogies purchased from me tasted the same as she had remembered when she was a child” Precepa smiled.
In addition to ensuring that there is no cross-contamination and preparing everything herself from scratch, Precepa undergoes a thorough process of label checking, changes recipes down to ground pepper and soya sauce, and is always asking questions to ensure that her meals will always be gluten free.
Currently Precepa is applying for the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Young Entrepreneurs Grant of $25,000.
Although the grant covers 85% of the cost for the purchase of materials and equipment for a start-up business, it is Precepa’s responsibility to pay for the 15% remainder.
Last Thursday on April 18, Precepa hosted a fundraiser in an attempt to raise the necessary funds.
“We raised approximately $200 dollars, however, we are still accepting donations and will be selling our products in order to raise the required funds,” she said.
Some of the amazing dishes Precepa will be whipping up include Gluten-free pizza and ravioli’s, a variety of Gluten-free pierogies, cookies, and cakes including Carrot Cake, Black Forest, Poppy Seed Honey Lemon Loaf and Nanaimo bars.
Daily specials can also be ordered and purchased including pick-up loaves of bread, buns, and rolls.
To phone the Nothen Gluten Bakery today and speak with Precepa about your next order, please call 705-206-3465.