Gluten Intolerant Chef Launches Weezie's Gluten-Free Bakery in Fort Lauderdale | Clean Plate Charlie | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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Gluten Intolerant Chef Launches Weezie's Gluten-Free Bakery in Fort Lauderdale

Humming to herself behind a mound of chocolate chip cookies, Louise Dutton flattens the gluten-free batter for her miniature Key Lime pie crusts. Cocking her head towards the door as it opens, the baker/chef smiles and pokes her reading glasses higher up her nose. Her hands are gloved in dried dough.

"Are you hungry?" Dutton asks enthusiastically. "Because I'll feed you."

Affectionately nicknamed Weezie by her mother, Dutton opened the doors to Weezie's Kitchen in August and is eager to nourish people at her gluten-free bakery.

Giving up the wheat protein four years ago after being diagnosed with a gluten allergy, she understands the responsibility of declaring her cooking gluten-free. Lives depend on it, hers included.

See also: Five Legit Gluten-Free Beer Options for Discerning Beer Snobs

Gluten is a protein that occurs naturally in grains like wheat, barley, and rye. For those like Dutton or who suffer from celiac disease, even the slightest amount of gluten can provoke life-threatening reactions. There is currently no cure and dietary aversion is the only known treatment.

From cheerios to cheesecake, gluten is found on almost every pantry shelf, which deems any dining experience a potential hazard for those with gluten allergies. Highly sensitive to gluten (she's had reactions to traces so minute they aren't recognized by the FDA), Dutton has to closely read all nutritional fine print. She's often surprised by the foods she finds that do contain gluten.

See also: 21-Year Old Launches Vegan Cupcake Business in Fort Lauderdale

"I come across foods all the time [that contain gluten]," Dutton points out. "Recently I stumbled upon dried beans that said on the package 'may contain wheat.' I'm assuming it's just the equipment or [the brand] is trying to cover themselves. But hair care products, lipsticks, face creams, and toothpaste [can] even contain gluten -- you really do have to read every single label."

New to the gluten-free scene, Dutton only noticed her reaction to gluten four years ago when she got ill each time she came in contact with the protein. After losing an unhealthy amount of weight, Dutton went on an elimination diet to try to find the culprit. It was gluten.

"I cut the wheat out of my diet and I suddenly felt better. The doctors wanted me to go back on the wheat so they could get a diagnosis, but I refused. I'm never ever going back on it," Dutton says adamantly.

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Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson

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