“Did those tongs touch any wheat?”
“Is this sauce gluten-free?”
“Did you use a separate cutting board?"
If you have celiac disease, you will be familiar with these questions, and how it feels to have to ask them. You don't want to feel picky or demanding, but you don't want to get sick. A regular customer told us once that the best thing about Origin was that it was a place where celiacs could feel normal.
We dreamed up Origin to create better gluten-free products, but also as a place where celiacs could feel normal for awhile, even special! Our vision was to provide food that tasted better and had healthier ingredients than the current market had to offer. Instead of searching the frozen section of the supermarket for rice and starch-based breads, the celiac community could come to us for fresh baked bread without preservatives. We use a variety of almost 20 gluten-free ingredients to replace wheat flour, and there are different combinations in each of our products. Our diverse range of breads will not taste similar because we don't just use a master blend of a few flours. Our cupcakes and pastries are delicious, and nobody will know they're gluten-free if you decide to share with friends or family. If they do find out, we hope to change some assumptions about gluten-free baking!
You might be surprised to find out that neither of us are celiac. We had been accustomed to catering to special diets, and the idea of creating better products for the celiac community was exciting! Most of all, we just love food and wanted to help celiacs love food too. Is it a lot of work? Yes. Sourcing a large range of safe ingredients isn't always easy. But it's worth it to know we're making you happy, and you never have to ask us "what's gluten-free?"
Origin was born as a market stall in Bastion Square, Victoria in the summer of 2009. The first retail bakery location opened in March 2010, and a second location in 2012.
Founders & Co-CEOs are Marion Scott & Tara Black
Tara Black is a talented Red Seal chef And pastry chef who won "Top Apprentice in BC."
Marion has a BA in French Language & Literature, and a certificate in Professional Cook 1 training.
Tara and Marion went to high school together in Courtenay BC, and have been friends since 1993!
Marion and Tara built their business plan while camping in Maui and each of their return flights was $5!! (Marion was a flight attendant at WestJet and sure misses those cheap flights)
Origin employs 25 people on average, and offers health & dental benefits.
The Vega Bread, which has turned into their most popular product, was developed in their first year as a special recipe for a celiac customer who couldn't have rice.
Origin is a regular participant in several fun food events in Victoria, including Culinaire, Brewery & The Beast, and Fernwood Bites
Origin's fabulous general manager Jill Olson is a celiac, has an adopted elephant in Africa, and also has a mild obsession with our carrot cupcakes.