Photos by Erin Smith. All Rights Reserved
More pictures here.
On Sunday, October 24th I was honored to be invited to a brunch hosted by Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery at 10 Arts in the Ritz Carlton Philadelphia. I had been emailing with Doug Radi, Vice President of Marketing at Charter Baking Company, Inc., the parent company of Rudi's Gluten Free Bakery, for a few weeks so I was very excited to meet some of the people behind this gluten-free bread company. I was also hoping to meet Jane Miller, Rudi's CEO, but she was not in Philadelphia this past weekend.
I walked into the beautiful 10 Arts at the Ritz Carlton and was immediately greeted by Doug from Rudi's and his Linhart PR team, Dayna and Elexis. Everyone was really friendly and excited to be reaching out to the gluten-free blogger community. There was a delicious display of Rudi's gluten free breads on the main table with a menu at each plate. The night before the brunch, I had texted my friend Sue of GlutenFreeLI and told her that I was hoping for some gluten-free French toast. Much to my delight, this was the first menu item listed on our special Rudi's/10 Arts menu. Cinnamon raisin French toast... gluten free! YES!
The brunch quickly started filling up with familiar gluten-free friends as well as some new faces. I had been emailing Mike from Gluten-Free Philly for months now, so I was happy to meet him and his family in person. I also reconnected with Jennifer Iannolo from the brand-new Zenfully Delicious and GildedFork.com. We sat together at an event back in 2007 and Jennifer remembered me immediately and kindly reminded me of our meeting. I also met Gluten-Free Mike and Paul Biscione of Loving Food Again. Also at my table was the lovely Alice Bast of the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. I had met Alice at another NFCA event a few years ago, but it was so nice to sit and eat breakfast with her in such a friendly setting. The dynamic duo from NFCA, Whitney and Cheryl, were also at the brunch but had to run off for the Appetite for Awareness set up. Sue Moller of Gluten-FreeLI, Dan Kohler of Renegade Kitchen, Chef Monica Glass from 10 Arts, and Maureen Stanley of Hold the Gluten were also all at the Rudi's brunch. There were some additional people that I didn't get the opportunity to meet since were all busy chatting and enjoying our gluten-free breakfast.
Doug kicked off the brunch by talking about the history of Rudi's. Although Rudi's Gluten Free is a new kid on the block, Rudi's Organic Bakery was founded in 1976. Over two years ago, Rudi's decided that they wanted to move into the gluten-free bread world. The team bought a bunch of different gluten-free breads and tried them all. The group was greatly disappointed in the gluten-free breads, which made them even more determined to create a perfect gluten-free bread. Rudi's started working on their gluten-free breads and even reached out to the NFCA to learn more about Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet. Two years and 200 formulations later, Rudi's made not one but three gluten-free breads!
Launched in July 2010 and available in all 50 states, Rudi's now offers certified gluten-free Original, Multigrain, and Cinnamon Raisin breads with no artificial ingredients. In addition, their breads are soy and dairy free. All gluten-free breads at Rudi's are produced on a dedicated line on dedicated days in their production facility. Every batch is tested for gluten both internally and at an external lab for less than 10ppm of gluten. (The FDA currently includes 20 ppm or less gluten as a criteria in its definition of "gluten-free".) To read more about Rudi's gluten-free production process, click here.
As if a delicious gluten-free bread isn't enough, Rudi's also gives back to the community. They donate over 50,000 pounds of bread to food banks each year, including hopefully providing an upcoming donation of gluten-free bread to the first gluten-free food bank in Loveland, CO. There is an effort to eliminate waste at Rudi's so they send unused bread to pig farms. Let me tell you, those Colorado pigs are eating well.
I really could go on and on about Rudi's Gluten Free breads, their staff, and their dedication to the gluten-free community. It was so nice to have a very down-to-earth conversation with Doug, Dayna, and Elexis. They answered all of our questions and were extremely knowledgeable about Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet. It is obvious that Rudi's cares deeply about getting their gluten-free products "right" before putting them out on the shelves. Although their gluten-free product list is short at the moment, they are currently working hard on perfecting additional gluten-free products. Doug said it is Rudi's Gluten Free mission to put out a full line of gluten-free products in the future.
Thank you Rudi's Gluten Free for including me in this fantastic event. I look forward to the future of Rudi's Gluten-Free Bakery!
And did I mention that Rudi's Cinnamon Raisin French Toast?!