Joe, head chef and co-owner of Dessert Labs, was living in NYC working in the movie industry when he discovered that he had celiac disease. “It was like having a 23 year-long stomach ache,” is how he described his life before changing to a gluten-free diet. He found the gluten-free food available, “unfortunate” and quit his job to go to culinary school to try and change it.
After working with some of the top pastry chefs in the business, Joe and his wife Karen, moved out to Portland and opened Dessert Labs. They opened September of last year and sell gluten-free pies, crème puffs, cupcakes, cookies, bread, bagels and even offer cooking classes.
Please read on…
Joe says that one of the biggest challenges Dessert Labs faces is the stigma that gluten-free food lacks flavor. He implores people to just give it a try. I mean, how could you not want to try some of these? You can find them on-line , at farmer’s markets, Food Front Co-op, Beesaw’s, and delivered by bicycle by Portland Pedal Power.
Joe and Karen don’t own a car and try to live as sustainably as possible so partnering with Portland Pedal Power, “just made sense.” Joe makes it a point to buy local ingredients from farmer’s markets as well. His favorite item on the menu is the sweet potato pie that is made with sweet potatoes, basil, caramelized onion, Parmesan cheese and chili pepper. He admits that it is his least favorite item to bake because he always wants to eat it right out of the oven (I hear you on that one, Joe). The most popular items are the pies or crème puffs.
Joe is excited about the future of Dessert Labs and hopes to continue creating unique recipes in the kitchen but would also love to work on wedding cakes and perhaps even produce some gluten-free beer in the future. Two hip-hip-hoorays for that!