The way I became interested in gluten-free cooking is connected to a story I never tire of telling: one day, in 2006, I met the mother of a girl with coeliac disease. I had never heard of coeliac disease and the many difficulties it presents to those affected by it, but I immediately wanted to know as much as possible. And the more I looked into it, the more I realised what had disturbed me so much: the lack of freedom of a person with coeliac disease, who cannot eat everything everyone else eats, who must only choose from foods that are not harmful to his or her body, foods which are often not particularly diverse or pleasing to the eye or tastebuds.
Nowadays there is much greater awareness of this problem, but in those days there were not many alternatives on the market, and foods that were not forbidden were not always the most appealing.
So I rolled up my sleeves and started to cook for that little girl, using ingredients that would not harm her, finding alternatives to prepare my own recipes with the same result. From the very first smiles she gave me as she tasted my gluten-free dishes, I realised that my dream of opening my own Sicilian restaurant was accompanied by an even greater desire: to cook for all those people who are denied the pleasure of tasting, experimenting and eating in company without feeling different from others.
What happened next was a mix of awareness, a sense of responsibility and stubbornness. I researched, I trained, I braced myself and I launched my project: on 1 December 2007, I opened my own gluten-free restaurant/pizzeria. It was the first 100% gluten-free restaurant in Europe and, within a short space of time, what at first glance seemed like a strange idea turned out to be a great success, proof that at the table, everyone can and should be equal.
‘A tavula è comu ‘a trazzera
The table is like the road… it belongs to everyone
Over time, I became interested in other intolerances (lactose, yeast, wheat, sugar, eggs, nuts and legumes), and in food choices such as veganism, and experimented and gained experience until I realised it was time to create my own flour products, gluten-free and without deglutinated wheat starch.
And so it is that today, both in my bar/bakery and in my restaurant/pizzeria, anyone can find healthy and tasty alternatives suitable for them (which, thanks to my e-commerce, can be delivered anywhere). But that’s not all, I also provide the products to make croissants, pizza, fresh pasta and cakes (and more!) at home: gluten-free (or milk-free, egg-free, etc.) does not mean tasteless.