We met in 11th Grade English Class. That is a long time ago! In all the time I have known Paul he has been a foodie. He was raised in a family that has always put an emphasis on food, He had dinner every night at the same time and you were not late! His mom Rena is quite the cook so it is no mystery where Paul got his love and talent for cooking. My contribution to our life in the food business is loving to eat!
Our first adventure was a pizzeria. We have been operating this restaurant, Baba Louie's in Great Barrington, Massachusetts for almost 20 years. In 2003 we opened a second location in Hudson NY. Our mission is to serve fresh, simple, quality food for a fair price with great service and a relaxed atmosphere. Simple right? It's a full time job!
For 10 years we rolled along with our restaurants and our family. Cue the kids. Isabella 18, Cole 16 and Hannah 14. Just like your kids our kids are awesome! And they love pizza so it all works out.
The crust we make for our restaurants is a thin, crisp and chewy, sourdough crust. Over the years we have built a bakery where we make all the breads and crusts for our restaurants. We are lucky to have a wonderful staff of bakers who keep us stocked with sourdough pizza crust, wheat bread, rye, ciabatta, focaccia and baguettes. We also serve a spelt crust which is quite popular with folks. Then..... like many people I have come to know, I found myself unable to eat gluten. For a woman who owes pizza restaurants this is a HUGE problem.
The journey to find a decent gluten free crust began.
My go to comfort meal, pizza and beer, became a problem. I was devastated. Then, in steps the greatest guy ever! Lucky me right! Paul decides he will just make me a sourdough, gluten free, crust just like our regular crust. And hey why not make it vegan, dairy, nut and soy free as well. Use non GMO ingredients, get it certified and oh yeah have it taste amazing. And so I ask you, Is he not the greatest guy?
The road to perfection was a bit bumpy. Making and tasting, making and tasting. There were a lot of people who played a role in the final result. We had people who knew our regular crust taste it. We had gluten free people taste it. Batch after batch, (too salty, doesn't cook up right, funny taste on the back of your tongue). Then one day out of the darkness came the light! It was good, really good. Everyone agreed. If people who can eat a regular pizza crust think your gluten free crust is delicious, then you definitely have something.
We started sharing the crust with our customers at the restaurants. The feedback was really amazing. We were so excited. Our staff started having their staff meals on Gluten Free crust. People started telling us how happy they were to get to eat pizza again. We even have people who send their pizza back because they think we brought a regular pizza to their table.
Once numbers of sales started to increase at the restaurants Paul had the great idea to bring our crust to the market. Holy heck is that a process!
The journey from our kitchen to the marketplace was and is an adventure. We have met a lot of wonderful people, heard a lot of inspiring stories and have had fun sharing the magic that is Ugly's Gluten Free Crust. We have had great support from other gluten free bakers, people in the industry who took us under their wings, who explained the business and have been helping us along the path. We will continue to spread the word and do our best to get our product to everyone who wants it.