By Catherine Dunwoody
Jenna Perreault has a secret weapon. There’s a reason why her aptly named Delish Gluten Free Bakery in Port Coquitlam has folks from all over flocking to it. The top-secret weapon? Perreault’s grandmother’s gluten-free flour blend that took her 20 years to perfect. See what having celiac disease, and being a lover of baked goods will inspire a person to do?
Jenna’s taken that flour blend and uses it to create everything from fluffy focaccia, to dense chewy fudge brownies, to pies with buttery crusts that would fool any discerning palette to believe these pastries surely must contain gluten. As a food writer, and being diagnosed with celiac disease just two years ago, I have tried every gluten-free bakery I can, usually with disappointing results. Textures like sandpaper, or Styrofoam is my motto generally – until I discovered Delish.
I chatted with chef/owner, and new mom, Jenna Perreault, to find out more.
What was food like in your growing up household?
Jenna: It was a huge part of my childhood. My mom, grandma and nonna were always in the kitchen; I got my love of food from them. My Saturday mornings were filled with cooking shows, not cartoons! I have been a “foodie” since I could eat solids! I think my parents knew this when I finished a bowl of borscht at 8 months.
Did you cook at home during your childhood?
Jenna: All the time. When I was 12 I started a business selling homemade dog biscuits to local pet shops. I also loved creating recipes and playing in the kitchen!
Where did you study culinary and when?
Jenna: I went to Vancouver Community College in 2007.
Most rewarding experience in your earlier days? Any mentors?
Jenna: When I was fresh out of baking school I got a job with The Boathouse Restaurants. I was in charge of creating the dessert menu for all of the restaurants. My mentor now is the owner of Romers Burger Bar, Kelly, and my bakery “guru” is Sam Pero the owner of Italia Bakery and Cannoli King.
Jenna: I think our muffins and scones would be my signature. Our very first product was our lemon blueberry muffin.
What style of cuisine do you serve at Delish?
Jenna: Our bakery is 100% gluten free with lots of vegan options.
What were your biggest challenges as a chef?
Jenna: Being a young female in the kitchen. It was very challenging and very rewarding at the same time.
Any advice for young people who aspire to be chefs or restaurateurs?
Jenna: Follow your passion and be open minded and humble. Be ready to change with the different food trends.