Gwyneth Paltrow wrote on her lifestyle website Goop that she's "kind of in love with Erin McKenna," founder of the popular gluten-free bakery Babycakes. Recently Actress Zooey Deschanel had contestants on Top Chef Masters scrambling to prepare a gluten-free meal for her. And The View’s Elisabeth Hasselback (who has celiac disease; sufferers can't tolerate gluten) wrote a guide to living gluten-free called The G-Free Diet.
With more than 3 million Americans with celiac disease, plus countless more who are eschewing gluten for health and weight-loss reasons, catering to this group is becoming a big business: According to a recent study, the gluten-free market in the U.S. grew 30 percent since 2006, and hit $2.6 billion in sales in 2010 alone.
One of the fledgling companies trying to get a piece of the (wheat flour-less) pie is the NYC-based Feel Good Foods, launched earlier this year by the husband-wife team of chef Tryg Siverson and Vanessa Phillips, who has celiac disease. The pair opened NYC restaurant Friedman's Lunch—which features a mostly gluten-free menu—in 2009 and garnered a loyal following. Wanting to make Siverson's gluten-free offerings accessible to a larger audience, they sold the restaurant and decided to focus on Feel Good Foods—frozen, gluten-free dumplings, which are sold in nearly 300 stores, including Whole Foods.
"The response to our dumpling line has been fantastic," says Phillips, who offers shrimp, chicken, pork and veggie versions. "Dumplings are the food I missed most when going on a gluten-free diet and I'm glad our customers are as excited as I am."
Dumplings not your thing? Not to worry: Feel Good Foods is expanding the line to include more appetizers and entrees, launching this fall.