Now I have yet another reason to miss the city. Last October I wrote a post about actress Jennifer Esposito and her mission to bring awareness and education about celiac disease and gluten-free living to the public. Through her organization, The Jennifer’s Way Foundation for Celiac Education (JWF), Jennifer is a tireless advocate for people battling celiac disease.
In that post, I also showed you some of the delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes that Jennifer shares on her blog, Jennifer’s Way. Now Jennifer is sharing more than just her recipes. You can actually experience her delicious baking for yourself because Jennifer has opened a gluten-free bakery in NYC.
Why is this such a big deal? Can’t you get gluten-free baked goods everywhere nowadays? No, you can’t. You see, if you go into a bakery or restaurant, they might offer “gluten-free” food items but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s really gluten-free. Is the food prepared on separate equipment? Are you sure there is no cross-contamination from the gluten-filled foods they offer? In a time when being gluten-free has become trendy, you can’t. For someone with celiac disease and food allergies, that’s too big a risk to take.
In an article by The Hollywood Reporter, Jennifer stated “It’s a real thing that is becoming, unfortunately, very trendy. Look, I believe, across the board, people should eat like that because the amount of genetically modified food is really harming all of us. But to make gluten-free food, you have to realize first and foremost, it’s for the Celiac community. .. There’s still an amount of gluten that’s FDA-OK to be in a product, and that’s not OK because it’s one-eighth of a teaspoon that can destroy the [intestinal] villi, which is important to take in the nutrients into the body. That’s not OK for a Celiac. And now that it’s a fad, people are just making so much money off of it and we’re getting sicker and sicker.”
So Jennifer, who suffers from celiac disease and multiple severe allergies, opened her own bakery, Jennifer’s Way Bakery, located at 263 E. 10th Street in NYC. The bakery is a strict gluten-free facility – NO ONE can bring any food into the bakery for fear of contamination. Word has it that Jennifer’s own boyfriend was made to leave when he walked in with a sandwich from another store. This is truly a safe haven for those who live in fear of the food they eat.
Jennifer wants her food to become the Celiac Standard. She uses only the purest, healthiest, organic, non-GMO ingredients she can purchase. All of her treats are Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Freeand Refined Sugar-Free. Many of the products are Yeast-Free (YF) and Nut-Free (NF) and most of them are Vegan (V). Everything is handmade from Jennifer’s personal recipes!
The menu includes artisan breads, bagels, soft pretzels, cupcakes, muffins, cookies, and even vegan Pop-Tarts. You can also purchase Jennifer’s own gluten-free Old-Fashioned Pancake Mix and Celiac Blend Tea. Many of the products are available for ordering at the bakery and there are plans for making shipping an option as well (I’m counting on that!). The bakery is getting great reviews from customers.
In addition to food, there are t-shirts for sale with slogans like “Team Celiac,” the packaged goodies are covered with informational stickers (“Did you know gluten is found in most cold cuts?”) and there are articles available for reading. Jennifer wants the bakery to also function as an information center.
Along with the launch of her bakery, Jennifer will appear on a few episodes of “Playing With Fire,” a restaurant-industry reality show on E!, and she is working on her own reality show as well. You can also watch the 2-part episode of Jennifer on Taste Makers (Part One and Part Two).
After years of continuous struggles, Jennifer Esposito is turning her battle with celiac disease into a gluten-free revolution. And she is doing it one delicious bite at a time. Make sure to stop in, visit and show your support at Jennifer’sWay Bakery the next time you’re downtown. As Jennifer says, “Food should be ENJOYED, not feared!”
Jennifer’s Way Bakery is located at: 263 E. 10thSt., NYC (Bet. 1st Ave. & Ave. A)
Hours: Wed – Fri: 10am – 8pm, Sat 10am – 9:30pm, Sun 10am – 7pm
Phone: (646) 682-9501
The “V” Word: Say it. Eat it. Live it.
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Hi gwensans, I buy Food For Life’s Bhutanese Red Rice Bread. That’s pretty much the one I like best especially when toasted. Otherwise, I make my own. There are recipes here on the blog for Italian bread and ciabatta bread.
Thanks for sharing! I cannot wait to check it out if only NY was a little bit closer! I just tried Bavarian’s gluten free breads and loved them. Do you have any favorite GF premade brand breads? To hold me over until I make way to Jennifer’s Way!
The absolute truth is that unless a restaurant is 100% dedicated gluten free, there is always possibility for cross contamination.
Three years ago, I opened a restaurant where only bread “for the other people” was served containing gluten. I made the bread for GF and everything else in the kitchen was GF made by me. I was ultimately not able to avoid cross contamination in my own kitchen as careful as I was, and had to sell out to my business partner.
Good news is that I then opened Delaware’s first 100% dedicated GF restaurant, cafe and bake shoppe inside an organic farm / natural foods store which is the perfect combo for us both. I bake / make everything on the menu including amazing bread that sells like crazy. Not one non-GF person has returned their sandwich due to bread… in fact, some will walk out buying a loaf.
Equally important, I am also able to use my location for an education opportunity as I have begun to schedule informational talks allowing for lots of Q&A. People are hungry for not just information, but more importantly need “how to” to make changes in their homes and food prep so as to avoid cross contamination.
I’m glad Jennifer is doing the same thing for New Yorkers. We need someone in every city and every state to join in. Jennifer’s celebrity allows her voice to be heard above ours… please keep that voice loud and clear! Speak out for all of us behind the trenches!
Those of us with Celiac cannot run risks with our health when we eat out. If a restaurant says a food is safely gluten free, then it needs to be the trustworthy truth.
I am SO excited that Jennifer opened up this bakery, even if I do live in LA, and can’t go visit it! I’m practically drooling over all the goodies, I would want to literally buy one of EVERYTHING!!! I think what I miss most now that I have Celiac is soft pretzels and bagels!! The good news is, my sister lives in NY, so I will absolutely go to this bakery as a staple when I am there to visit. I hope Jennifer knows how much it means that she is educating others on the fact that for many of us (with Celiac and other stomach issues) eating gluten free is NOT an option, it’s a must, and cross contamination is so important to understand. I have almost ALWAYS been hit when I eat out…even when restaurants say they take precautions… there is simply no guarantee when a restaurant has other food in its kitchen that is full of gluten and wheat. And unfortunately, because many people aren’t aware of the degree of sensitivity Celiacs suffer, they use ingredients in their GLUTEN FREE food that could TOTALLY trigger someone with Celiac, like soy, sugar, GMO corn, caramel color, the list goes on and on. Thanks for this great article! If I can’t get to NYC soon, I’ll just have to wait and see when the bakery will be open for “shipping business.” 🙂