Being allergic to gluten isn’t easy…especially if you can’t keep your hands off that pepperoni pizza or stop yourself from indulging in a slice of lemon cheesecake. And, why should you? Just because you have gluten allergies, doesn’t mean you forgo the ‘cream’ of the crop. It certainly didn’t stop Meher Randhawa, a victim of gluten allergies herself, from enjoying the best of gourmet – minus the gluten, of course. Realizing that there were a lot of people just like her who were gluten intolerant but still loved their baked goodness, Meher decided to start concocting her own line of delicious gluten-free grub for herself and for the other dessert-deprived people around her by opening ‘The Gluten Free Baking Co.’
A gluten-free diet basically eliminates all grains that contain a protein called gluten. Which means that a gluten intolerant person cannot consume grains like wheat, barley, rye, or any hybrids of these grains – a real culinary catastrophe! But The Gluten Free Baking Co. would prove to be the greatest thing since ‘sliced bread’.
Cooking Up a Storm
Meher has been studying in the field of medical genetics since 2011, working in hospitals but never forgetting her passion for baking and baked goods. Being gluten intolerant didn’t leave her with too many options, so Meher decided to put her medical genetics knowledge and baking skills to the test. And luckily for Meher, she was entering an untouched market in which there were very little to no options available for the rest of the gluten-allergic souls in society who brought their appetite. There was a huge percentage of gluten intolerant/celiac/gluten-sensitive individuals constantly on the lookout for an alternative to baked goods such as cakes, breads, cookies and other such gluten-free foods and Meher was their Gordon Ramsay.
When I started my business, it was meant to be only a passion project but with the overwhelming response, our company is growing at a fast pace.”
And, why shouldn’t it? After all, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. And the way to a gluten-intolerant man’s heart is through the Gluten Free Baking Co. Pretty soon, the word spread, and more and more people were flocking to Meher’s bakery for some of that gluten-free goodness. Not only are all of Meher’s products gluten-free, but her company works out of an entirely gluten-free zone. She also caters to the vegan, paleo and keto population.
Keeping The Pot Boiling
Baking without the essentials such as gluten, eggs, refined sugar, and dairy was no doubt challenging but through extensive research and trial and error, Meher was able to perfect her very own propriety blend of gluten-free substitutes for flour and all the other essential baking ingredients to suit the needs of gluten intolerant foodies.
Everything fell into place at the right time and I am blessed to have the support of my family.”
Seems like Meher never found herself in a pickle while climbing the culinary ladder and didn’t face any challenges on the personal front. Also, there was no competition for Meher to deal with simply because she was the competition! Her company is one of the first baking companies in India to cater so specifically to the dietary needs of its customers.
What’s the chef’s take on entrepreneurship? “Starting a business is always challenging but I believe in taking risks when it’s backed with a passion to make a difference. It’s all about staying true to who you are and having the courage to put thoughts into actions”, says a very confident and determined Meher. Looks like there’s no stopping this gourmet go-getter who doesn’t let a little gluten stand in the way of her culinary dreams.
The Proof Is In The Pudding
“Never underestimate the power of social media”, says Meher. Apart from word of mouth, Facebook and Instagram were Meher’s main sources of marketing. Customers can even look up her company on Zomato. Great reviews and mouth-watering images of her delectable gluten-free baked treats constantly uploaded on social media helped her “rise” to the top, fast. Customers also share their ideas with Meher who is constantly evolving her company based on their needs. She plans on venturing into the savory food arena as well as the health food space very shortly. Although managing her professional life and entrepreneurial life is a constant juggling act, it wasn’t hard for Meher to strike the perfect balance between the two.
“My biggest inspiration is not just one person but all the incredible, strong and independent women in my life who have shown me by example how to level the playing field and succeed. Empowered women empower women.” Spoken like a true representative of proud women chefs everywhere – whether they’re cooking at home or at a five Michelin-star restaurant!
Meher not only is a great chef but her desire to make people stricken with food allergies smile by delivering tasty and more importantly, healthy food, is admirable. Her advice to other young and budding chefs…?
Don’t think twice, just go for it! Hard work and passion never fail.”
Meher is undoubtedly a bold example of how women everywhere have certainly evolved in the food industry, whether it’s pushing past male hierarchs in top restaurants or beating down socially stigmatic men to prove, in the best possible way, that – “A Woman’s Place, Definitely Is, In the Kitchen!”