I have been growing my organic catering company since I moved to San Francisco 5 years ago. In that time, I discovered that I had a gluten sensitivity that was the cause of my near constant brain fog, headaches, lethargy, and general malaise. Since that discovery, I've admittedly gone through phases of both strict adherence to to the gluten-free diet as well as completely ignoring it. (In Paris, for example!)
The thing that kept me on track while it simultaneously derailed me is the fact that I am a chef. I have the means to create amazing gluten-free treats, but also have the attitude that I should be able to eat everything, cause I'm a chef! It's a catch-22. This constant volley can only go on for so long, and it was only a matter of time until I said "OK, that's IT." I feel like crap when I eat gluten. Period. Not worth it.
Where has all of this back and forth led me? To where I am right now. In brainstorming of how to open my very own kitchen for my catering business, it quickly occurred to me that my business is not a 24/7 operation. I tend to have either nothing going on, or seven things at once. I wouldn't need the kitchen every day, and taking San Francisco real estate prices into account, it only made sense that I rent it out to other chefs and bakers who need a commercial space to work their magic. But there are already several shared kitchens in San Francisco, and I wanted something different that helped people on a different level.
It only made sense that I take my catering company into the 100% gluten-free realm and open a kitchen that is safe for people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Once the lightbulb went off, I was amazed to find out that this didn't already exist in San Francisco, considering how progressive this city is in terms of food. How is it possible that San Francisco doesn't have a shared gluten-free kitchen? There are so many gluten-free bakers and chefs who already work at shared kitchens, it only makes sense that we have our own! Once the gears started turning, I could see Zenbelly Kitchen so clearly:
A clean, safe workspace for gluten-free chefs and bakers to create their goods
A coffee shop storefront, selling really good coffee and the amazing gluten-free goods made in house
A place for workshops and cooking classes, to help people learn more about the gluten-free lifestyle
And for me, personally, it would allow my already existing catering business to:
Go 100% gluten-free while still offering amazing food for everyone, not just those with celiac
Launch a meals-to-go & delivery service, featuring grass-fed meats from Fallon Hills Ranch, and organic local produce. California style comfort food to go. Gluten-free, grain-free, paleo-friendly!
To support Simone's venture, visit her Kickstarter page.
- Simone Shifnadel