Bellambi’s new gluten-free cafe GF Eats going gangbusters

A gluten-free providore is going gangbusters after making the leap from market stall to a bricks and mortar business at Bellambi. 

GF Eats, on Rothery Street, is the brainchild of lifelong home cook and more recent gluten-free convert, Megan Manns. 

The business’s cupboards are filled with 15 kinds of gluten-free flour and the cooks subscribe to the “one crumb and I’m done” school of complete gluten avoidance. 

Megan Manns, with staffers Carli Bell, Chloe Jenson and Tanita Gordon, began trading on Rothery St earlier this month.

Megan Manns, with staffers Carli Bell, Chloe Jenson and Tanita Gordon, began trading on Rothery St earlier this month.

Ms Manns began trading at markets at Killalea and Kiama in November.

After selling out hundreds of glazed and cinnamon donuts within a few hours, she quickly realised there was an unmet appetite for food from a bonafide gluten-free kitchen, where the produce hadn’t come into contact with problem flours. 

“There’s a tonne of businesses all around that do killer gluten-free food. The thing is though, you can still get sick, even if they’re really well-intentioned, and I think that scares a lot of people,” she said. 

“People were just so grateful to find us. They’re gobsmacked that it’s all gluten free. They say, ‘it’s nice to be able to go out and get something we know we can eat’. 

“We’ve reduced grown men to tears, literally. 

Ms Manns diagnosed herself with gluten intolerance about three years ago, after she gave up all foods containing wheat, barley and rye and noticed a seismic shift in her health. 

“Within a couple of days I was no longer lethargic. I used to think I’d need a hip replacement before I was 45. Chronic pain, headaches every day – gone.” 

“Now if I go to my mother’s – I take my own toaster. If I got gluten now, I get headaches, I get very lethargic. The shop would be shut for three days then you’d have a cranky chef for about a week. It’s that bad.” 

In a dietary niche market known to charge up to eight times the price of regular, Ms Manns prides herself on her wide menu and affordability. 

GF Eats sells donuts, lemon meringues, caramel slices, crispy peanut butter brownies, waffles with deep fried avocado, beer-battered fish and chips, lasagne, sausage rolls, fish and chips, meat pies, pizzas. 

Donuts sell for $4 and hand-rolled pork and fennel sausage rolls, or low-FODMAP pumpkin quinoa pastries, sell for $7.50. 

“I think we’re quite reasonable for stuff that is small batch, artisan, made from scratch,” Ms Manns said.

“We don’t go and buy a pre-packet pastry mix. We get out bowls that I can barely wrap my little arms around and get out whisk that are as long as my arms and we do the hard yards. 

“We don’t stiff our customers. You shouldn’t have to pay more because you’ve got dietary requirements.”