Q&A with Wendy Zeh, co-owner of FEAST:
How do you choose the products you stock in the store?
We are constantly on the hunt for delicious products to carry. In order to be stocked in our store, the product must taste fabulous, be gluten free and meet our allergen profile. We taste-test everything ourselves, and we also use taste-testers with and without dietary restrictions. All products must be free of gluten, wheat, nuts, peanuts, fish and shellfish, and preferably dairy, egg and soy as well, although we do make an exception for the last three for products that are sold in store (our kitchen is free from gluten and all top 8 allergens). We verify allergen information with manufacturers to ensure that there is no risk of cross contamination with gluten or allergens during manufacturing. We also favour items that are locally made and made by companies who have owners with personal experience with food allergies or sensitivities. As for the types of things we carry, we try to carry things for the pantry that make life a little easier and a lot tastier.
What are some of the brands that you carry?
We have formed relationships with some pretty special local folks and are proud to be the exclusive retail store for: Mr. Vinegar, Bix Bakery sorbettos, and Live On Chocolate’s allergen-free line, made in our very own kitchen.
What other homemade items do you plan to introduce?
We recently introduced a quinoa confetti power salad, which has organic red and white quinoa, goji berries, and kale, dressed in maple and lemon. And we’ve just found the perfect pizza crust—single serving size, naked and ready to be topped! We have special pocket pie flavours every week. We are continuously working on new items, especially ones that our customers want and are asking for (like fruit pies and croissants). [Editor’s note: DID SHE JUST SAY CROISSANTS?!]
What has been the response of the community so far?
The notion of “community” is interesting, as we have many “communities” that we serve, and all have expressed appreciation, joy and gratitude. We have many regulars from the neighbourhood community who have said that we’re exactly what the neighbourhood needed. The community of people who have health-related dietary restrictions have thanked us for existing. Many of them have shared the pain of their health and dietary journeys with us, and many of the stories have ended in tears of relief and joy over finding food that tastes great and that meets their dietary restrictions. We also have a very loyal vegan and vegetarian community who are happy to have their dietary needs considered. The response has been very humbling. We have achieved one of the things we set out to do, and that was to make it easier for people with various dietary restrictions to feast together again.
We are psyched to announce that FEAST will be bringing some of their pocket pies and donuts to Gluten Free Garage on November 9th!