Gluten Intolerant Chef Launches Weezie's Gluten-Free Bakery in Fort Lauderdale
Starting off slow baking from home under the cottage law loophole, Dutton would provide gluten-free goods for a few restaurants in the area. From pizza crust to chocolate cake, her gluten-free treats were well received by customers regardless of their tolerance to gluten.
"If it doesn't make me sick, and my husband -- who isn't gluten-free -- eats it and thinks it tastes good, then I know I'm doing it right," Dutton chimes with spirit. "[My husband] would tell me if it's crap or not. And if it is? Well, back to the drawing board because everything I make should taste as good, if not better, than its gluten-filled counterpart!"
The cheese and onion marmalade that won Dutton a prize in a foodie magazine on its own merit: She never disclosed it was gluten-free.
By popular demand, Dutton was forced to either pull-up her sleeves and pursue gluten-free cooking full-time in an industrial kitchen, or keep cooking from home and plateau, her hands tied without the proper license. She chose the former, and bought the quaint shop on Oakland Park Boulevard. Once Dutton made her decision, she never questioned it: from taking out loans, to getting the necessary licensing, and even voluntarily taking cross-contamination classes in her spare time.
"I've always been a really hard worker," Dutton shouts across the eatery as she takes her piecrusts out of the oven. "I never sit down, but balls to the wall or nothing at all, right?"
Before it was Weezie's Kitchen, the spot used to house an alarming amount of gluten as an Argentinean empanada and pizza shop. To ensure her safety and that of her customers, she scrubbed the entire restaurant down as if the previous owners had the plague.
"I cleaned, cleaned, cleaned, everything," Dutton says rolling her eyes. "The walls, the floors, every single solitary inch and surface, just everything, was cleaned. And then I did it another three times and finally I had professionals come in to acid wash everything with pressure hoses to be sure."