If you asked Roanna Canete a few years ago what “organic” meant she wouldn’t have been able to tell you. In fact, the San Diego mother of two said she didn’t know much about the food world until she had her children while living abroad.
“My greatest wakeup to the food industry came as a mother to younger children while living in Rome, Italy,” said Canete, who now lives in Coronado. “Their culture highly values food, and it is discussed constantly.”
But, it wasn’t until her son, Trey, was diagnosed with food allergies and intolerances that Canete had to really change her habits in the kitchen. The Utah native said she had to experiment with different ingredients to find the right dishes for her children.
“Eight years ago, gluten free recipes were not as plentiful online as they are now,” Canete said. “I bought a grain mill and systematically worked down the grain aisle in the Italian grocery store until I had tried baking with all the grains. That taught me their taste, texture and behavior. From this, I learned how to make my own flour mixes. It has shaped my approach to gluten-free baking hugely.”
Now, every San Diego County resident and visitor is benefiting from Canete’s devotion to food. Canete is the owner of The Gluten Free Baking Co., a bakery that opened earlier this year in North Park.
Although Canete expected facing challenges as a new business owner, she didn’t expect a disease to cause a worldwide disruption.
“This year has been a whirl-wind,” Canete said. “We got the keys to our new retails space Jan. 1, opened Feb. 8, went into quarantine March 15, lost all our wholesale business March 16, and had nothing left but our new shop. It has been challenging.”
Canete, who imagined having a business where she would share her love of gluten-free baked goods, had to quickly adapt her business model.
“We listened,” Canete said. “We created new recipes, and we made about 40% of our existing recipes vegan to accommodate a large sector of our clientele. We stocked things like dry pasta, locally made hot sauce, etc and stepped up to meet the clients needs. In the weeks of COVID-19, I produced the most new recipes I have ever produced.”
Although customers can now find a range of items inside Canete’s bakery, it’s still her gluten-free recipes that retain her fans.
“To this day, you will not find a pre-mix in our bakery,” Canete said. “Each baked good has its own recipe with its own blend of flours. That’s the only way I’ve found to address taste, texture and appearance, which are critical to our products.”
More importantly, Canete said she wants her customers to know how important they are to her.
“I hope they feel safe and feel cared for when they enter the bakery,” Canete said. “I want them to know that we created all these baked goods just for them so they can be safe and enjoy amazing baked goods. I hope their experience is one of surprise, relief and joy when they are able to eat foods that have been unavailable to them in the past.”
For more information about The Gluten Free Baking Co., go to thegfbakingco.com/.
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