By Steve Pike
Urgent necessity, Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes said, “prompts many to do things.’’
Meet Joey Weiss. Out of necessity she taught herself the world of gluten-free foods that led her and her husband, Victor, to create Joey’s Home Bakery in Boynton Beach. The bakery, which celebrated its first anniversary in December, prepares and sells only gluten-free baked goods — from breads and cakes to bagels and pizza. It’s all gluten-free, wheat-free, whole grain, with no trans fats or preservatives, made at the bakery’s location on 1532 SW 8th St. in the Home Depot shopping center.
About 15 years ago Victor Weiss was diagnosed with celiac disease. If people with celiac disease eat foods with gluten — a type of protein found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale — it damages their small intestine so that it can’t normally absorb nutrients from the food.
“It became difficult to eat out and even eat at home,’’ Joey Weiss said. “There weren’t a lot of health food stores like there are now, so we ordered a lot of things online and paid a lot of money for shipping. When they came in, they didn’t taste that great, so we decided to do things ourselves and make own gluten-free breads and cookies and treats and pie dough. It took a long time, but after five or six years I got a hold of it.’’
It helped that before getting into the baking business, Joey Weiss traveled the world as a marketing consultant to various companies for trade shows. That might seem like a strange bedfellow to gluten-free baked goods, but not so for her.
“I traveled to a lot of different countries, so I know the cultures and what they eat,’’ Joey Weiss said. “They use a lot of different flours in different countries. It exposed me to a lot of different cooking styles and the flours they use.’’ One of the first decisions Joey Weiss made was not only to be gluten-free, but also preservative-free. Many mass-produced gluten-free products, Victor Weiss said, contain a laundry list of preservatives and additives that adds to their shelf lives but not to taste and nutrition.
“We don’t sell anything that’s pre-packaged,’’ said Victor Weiss, who retired from the printing business and moved with his wife from Hong Kong to South Florida in 2006. “Everything is made by our team here. We work very hard to make things in small batches and do it every day.’’
The Weisses started their business three years ago with a booth at the West Palm Beach GreenMarket before business got so good they decided to move to a retail location. From that store, Joey’s Home Bakery serves walk-in customers as well as doing catering and mail orders. Product is shipped via USPS two-day service Wednesday and Thursday, Victor Weiss said, so it doesn’t have to sit on a shelf over the weekend.
“We’re serving a big group of customers with dietary needs,’’ Joey Weiss said. “Whether you need a birthday cake, anniversary cake or some other function, we can cater to their diets.’’