History of Crave Bakery – Part II
Continued from History of Crave Part I
But despite this discovery of gluten being a relief, (and this is the ‘but’ that bore Crave) everything I bought tasted like space food and could literally last as long on the shelf. Horrible taste, texture and ingredient quality. So even though I felt physically good, over the next few months I became very frustrated and then very determined. Remember that this was 2003. At that time, NO ONE knew what gluten-free was – medical doctors to friends and family to grocery stores. I was constantly talking with people and trying to solve this problem.
Timing wise, I was also at a crossroads. To go back to advertising or not? During this discovery phase, I had been baking for myself. I loved to bake with my family growing up. I definitely loved sweet things. I had been Craving all of these goodies that I could no longer eat. As a result, I had this brownie recipe that I had created, was proud of and had been sharing with friends. And then it dawned on me, why not sell it? There are simply no good, upscale GF desserts in stores. This is San Francisco, there should be a market for this, there must be others like me and I want to turn this life challenge into something amazing! And there it was plain as day… CRAVE.
So, with a box of brownies, a logo design and an ingredient list, I boldly scheduled an appointment with a bakery buyer at Rainbow Grocery – my favorite co-op of all time. And this is how cool Rainbow is – they placed an order. I had no kitchen, no supplies, no real company even! Just a recipe, a smile, a big set of cojones (or naivety) and a lot of passion for gluten-free because being gluten-free saved my life! And spreading the Crave word saved my life in a lot of ways, too. So, with my first order in hand, I was able to go to the next store and say, ‘Rainbow is going to carry them, you should too!’. I found a kitchen, ordered supplies and flew by the seat of my pants. The brownies took off. Then we were asked to make chocolate cake, so I created chocolate cake. Then a pumpkin tart for Thanksgiving and I created that, too. Then cupcakes, and on and on. Because there was such a positive response, it felt like people had been waiting for a high-end gluten-free option for quite some time. Crave really snowballed until, at the height of our production, we were selling in 12 states – the whole west coast and the southwest and mountain regions.
In 2009, after several years of customer requests, we began to also offer custom-made party and wedding cakes in the Bay Area. Sometimes we would even make small cakes to ship across the country. These were highly creative and customized projects. We took on all kinds of design and various allergy requests too. We always did our best to accommodate all different combinations of food needs including:
These cakes were highly creative and customized projects. We loved these of one of a kind creations and meeting these lovely people who became clients. 2003 was a really exciting time to start a gluten-free business. I know that Crave Bakery and other early pioneers paved the way and set a higher standard for today’s gluten-free food.
- Cameo Edwards