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Celiac Specialties Gluten Free Bakery

Photo Credit: Priscilla Demello

 

Celiac Specialties has been in business since 1995. This dedicated gluten-free bakery was one of the first bakeries daring to base their business solely on the needs of those living with Celiac Disease. But don't be mistaken, their donuts and baked goods are enjoyed by all.

My first memory of Celiac Specialties is a decade old, from 2003. We drove from our home in Swartz Creek to Chesterfield Township, where their first store was located. This was before GPS, smartphones and Google Maps. We arrived in the city and stopped at a local library to ask for directions. The librarian knew exactly where we wanted to go, as she visited the bakery often.

We arrived at our destination....ten minutes after closing. I was heart-broken. But the workers inside saw us standing at the window, took pity on us, and graciously let us inside. It was a sight to behold. I could eat anything in the store, without fear of gluten ingredients. Anything.

We bought freshly made donut holes, returned to the car, and voraciously ate them between the two of us. My memory to this day is vivid. My husband and I are sitting in our burgundy Le Sabre, the smell of warm cinnamon donuts filling our nostrils, telling ourselves we shouldn't eat the whole bag. My non-gf husband exclaimed they were the best donut holes he's ever had, better than our local Quality Dairy. If you're not from Lansing, you don't know how huge a compliment that is!

Fast forward to 2016 and Celiac Specialties has a new owner and a new location. But their dedication to a strictly gluten-free environment has NEVER changed. For our Michigan Monday feature, read Priscilla's passion and vision for this bakery, in her own words.

Photo Credit: Priscilla Demello

1. What inspired you personally to become a gluten-free food producer?
Celiac Specialties was opened by my husband's sister, Michelle, years ago. She, a non gf baker, was approached over 20 years ago, by someone with Celiac Disease needing safe baked goods.  Her brother Mike joined a few years later, helping her to fulfill her mission of creating gluten-free foods that were celiac safe without sacrificing great taste and texture.

I, Priscilla, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2002. After my diagnosis, a coworker introduced me to Celiac Specialties. Because of Michelle's baking, I was able to embrace my diagnosis and dedicate myself to truly eating gluten-free. Shortly thereafter, I started working at the bakery, on the weekends. This allowed me to connect with other celiacs and hopefully help those who were newly diagnosed. Who knew that someday my part-time work would lead to my life time love!

Photo Credit: Priscilla Demello


2. Celiac Specialties has been open for many years. Tell us some of the history of the bakery.
After Michelle had acquired quite a following, she opened a small bakery in Chesterfield, MI. Eventually she opened a store in Novi, as her customer base grew and the Tri-County Celiac Support group were located there.  After doing research for an expansion that could meet demand, Rochester Hills became our next home. Our business continued to grow, so now we are located in Farmington Hills.

 


3. Your business is a dedicated gluten-free bakery. Do you accommodate other allergens?
We try to accommodate as many allergies as we can. We are very proud that 95% of our products are also dairy (casein) free.  When creating a new product, we always attempt to make it dairy-free. If it doesn't meet our quality standards, then we use dairy as a last resort. We are a nut-free facility and many of our baked goods do not include soy.

Photo Credit: Priscilla Demello

 

 


4. What steps do you take to insure gluten-free safety?
We get gluten-free statements from our vendors to ensure all of our ingredients are safe. We do not bring ANY wheat into the facility, so their is no possibility of cross contamination or any wheat being in the air vents and air flow. No gluten in the building, period. The FDA has also tested our products.

5. Do you have any thankful stories from customers who were thankful for your bakery?

Celiac Specialties has may reviews on their Facebook page. I (Margaret) was struck by one particular story.

"Went in today for the first time because I noticed via Facebook that they were close to me, then realized that a friend of mine previously recommended this place! A super nice woman, who I'm assuming is the owner, explained all the different products they make and went beyond that to give me advice & write down the names of some good books. I'm new to Celiac Disease with positive blood work but cannot have an endoscopy until I deliver (4 months pregnant). I was extremely saddened when my doctor recommended the GF diet because everything I was craving turned into everything I could no longer have. But this place definitely brightened my outlook! I bought pasta, cinnamon donuts, Hawaiian bread and blueberry muffins. I have tried the muffins already this morning and they are AMAZING! (And I am super picky!) I will definitely be going back!"

Photo Credit: Priscilla Demello

I think it's safe to say that Priscilla and her husband are living out Michelle Fuller's passion. They're not only turning out a much loved product, but are taking steps to care and educated their clients as well.

So what baked goods are you missing after diagnosis? Do you have a dedicated gluten-free bakery near you? Keep following throughout the year as I interview every gluten-free bakery in Michigan!

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