Stephen was part of the first gluten free guys group chat I started when I was first getting to know Instagram a little better. I was immediately blown away by his ability to bake!
He’s keeping those recipes close, so I may just need to arrange a European vacation soon because everything he makes looks so good! Check out his story below and connect with him. He has some great information based on many years of experience.
1) Your story…tell us a little bit about yourself!
“Hi! My name is Stephen. I’ve been coeliac for 19 years and I own The Free From Baker. I live in the historic city of York, where I went to University and where I now run my business. I was diagnosed ceoliac at the age of 7, at the same time as my Mum. Being diagnosed together especially when I was a child made growing up on a gluten-free diet much easier. I started my business in March 2019. Everything I bake is gluten free, as well as plenty of dairy free and vegan options. I make celebration cakes, as well as smaller items – cupcakes,cookies and traybakes which I sell on market stalls. I’ve featured on the Great British Bake Off Extra last year, where I won star baker for Danish Week. This year I made it through to the National Final of Youth Market Trader of the year, and I have another TV appearance this Christmas.”
2) Why do you eat gluten free food?
“I follow a gluten-free diet because of coeliac disease.”
3) What is your favorite gluten free snack? Where can we find it?
“My house usually has some practice baking or leftover cake in at all times for me to snack on. Other than that, I love Kettle crisps, and the Tesco cookies, triple chocolate or white chocolate and cranberry on my favorites.
4) What’s your favorite gluten free recipe?
This is a challenging question, I have a secret recipe book full of wonderful baking recipes. I love my cookie recipe as well as my chocolate cake recipe, neither of which I can share with you at the minute. Although I’m thinking of starting a Youtube channel with baking recipes if people are interested.”
5) What’s one thing you wish you knew when first went gluten free?
“This is a hard one, I was diagnosed as a child, I don’t really remember exactly what it was like. It was always hard being the ‘odd’ kid on school trips and at birthday parties, especially because back then it was quite unheard of, and you could buy hardly anything in a super market. Growing up I always told myself that I would never let it stop me doing anything, and it hasn’t, it has led me to own my own business which is pretty incredible. I think I would just tell myself that everything would work out and that being coeliac would actually play to my advantage eventually.”
6) If you could only eat one gluten free meal for the rest of your life,what would it be and why?
“Definitely my Mum’s lasagne or roast dinner!”
7) What advice would you give someone who is about to go gluten-free?
“Mainly just not to stress and panic about it. It probably seems really scary and daunting. However, the products are so good now. You can get alternatives for most of your favorite foods and lots of things are naturally gluten-free as well. Don’t let it stop you enjoying yourself, if you want to go out for a meal, or get a takeaway just do a little bit of googling first, there are so many amazing options out there! There are plenty of great facebook groups that you can join to chat with similar people and to get recommendations.”
8) What’s your favorite thing about being gluten free?
“My absolute favourite thing is that being gluten-free has led me to own my own baking business. A couple of years ago I never thought I would be where I am now.”
9) What is one thing you dislike about being gluten free and what do you do to mitigate it?
“I don’t really dislike anything, I can’t remember eating food before I was 7 and diagnosed, so I don’t miss anything. It led me to run my own business and I rarely have an issue eating out, I’m very fortunate that my friends, family, and boyfriend are really understanding of the disease. My only dislike is the very occasional accidental glutening, I’m always so careful, but it still seems to happen once or twice a year.”
10) How can other people find you?
My personal Instagram is @glutenfreestee
To find the business:
Instagram and Facebook – @thefreefrombaker
Stephen, Thank you for taking the time to connect and share with us. If you want to share more…such as those secret recipes… just let me know, I can update this post! haha. In the mean time, you may find me stopping in one of those markets in the near future!