Ellen's Country Kitchen
Or, How I Got My Start Helping Sick People...
In May of 2008, Ellen Nicholas opened Something Different Bakery & Cafe in Kingston, NY. It was the Hudson Valley's first dedicated gluten-free bakery. Truly our food was killer. One of my B&B guests, said, "Forget about a Bed & Breakfast, you need a restaurant." I took her seriously! Now in those days most people trying to figure out gluten-free baking bought rice flour, the least expensive flour they could buy. If it looked like a cake, it must be a cake, right? Unfortunately, as a rule, almost everything GF tasted awful. Ellen's tweak: Buy the MOST expensive flour on the market! I took this lovely flour to a wonderful Culinary Institute trained baker I knew in Greene County and paid her to develop recipes for me which included my pie crust for quiche and apple pie, lemon curd and scones. When we opened, we had great baked goods and awesome salads and soups.
Unfortunately, only two weeks after getting all City approvals and finally opening, the stock market crashed basically killing the local economy before the business got up and running. An inexperienced entrepreneur, I was still convinced that there was a huge unmet demand for gluten-free food. I had personally experienced a stunning recovery from unidentified illness after an eight-month gluten-free food trial and I felt I had to share this everywhere. Then my husband, Kim, had a serious brush with an unidentified illness, losing 50 lbs over four to six months, weight he couldn't afford to lose. The illness turned out to be celiac disease, the only treatment of which is a gluten-free diet. I couldn't imagine letting go of this gluten-free business when I felt it was so necessary to the community.
As a result a year later, Ellen reopened as a farmers market vendor under the name Gluten-Free Dessert Kitchen. In 2015, the name changed to Ellen's Country Kitchen for two reasons. The first reason was that as a health coach I was baking far more savories and healthy baked goods than desserts. I did a test at the Copake-Hillsdale Farmers Market where I chose to have two booths with largely the same products. One signed with Gluten Free Dessert Kitchen, the other Ellen's Country Kitchen. The test was to see if people would gravitate more to one name than the other. Ellen's Country Kitchen did double the sales. Why? Because as recently as 2015, the average person was unwilling to even taste what they knew to be gluten-free food. But if someone from Ellen's Country Kitchen said, would you like to taste my Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake -- the answer was a resounding yes. As a result, we are currently vendors in four farmers markets including Kingston, Copake-Hillsdale, and Millbrook on Saturdays, and at Rhinebeck on Sundays under the name Ellen's Country Kitchen. In the past, we have also been at Muscoot, John Jay, Mt. Kisco, Yorktown Heights, New Paltz and Saugerties farmers markets. Over the past ten years, I have no doubt spoken to thousands of people about the gluten-free diet, celiac disease, gluten intolerance. When asked if gluten was bad or if gluten-free was better, I always responded that gluten was a problem only if people were sensitive or had celiac disease. The research over the past several years has proven quite conclusively that gluten is problematic for everyone because of the damage it causes to the intestinal lining. I don't doubt that some people are more resilient while young.
We have frequent requests to deliver frozen entrees, soups, and some baked goods to the Tri-State area including Western Connecticut, Westchester, NYC, and Northern New Jersey, particularly from those who have second homes in our area and
know our food. That prospect is being investigated to see if it is viable for Fall 2019 roll out. If you would like to be on that
mailing list, kindly send us a contact with Delivery Service as the Subject.
Here is a showcase of some of our baked products.