Gluten-Free to Industry: Allie Luckman Overcame Food Allergies for Her Family and Found a Calling
“Do you mind if we chat while I’m driving?” starts CEO and owner of Allie’s GF Goodies, Allison Luckman. “I couldn’t find allergen-free gumdrops, so I’m on my way to the store to buy the ingredients to make them.” With that as an intriguing conversation starter, how could one not want to talk to her via Bluetooth? The Long Island, New York-based Luckman, like many of today’s mothers, found that she had genetically passed her many food allergies onto her kids. Therefore, she started baking for them to make sure her kids could eat baked treats just like their friends – without feeling left out of any celebration.
Starting with a hobby crafting cakes and muffins for tiny tots birthdays and celebrations in 2012, Luckman found the flowering enterprise grew into a bakery. The certified gluten-free and qualified kosher shop concentrates on baked goods free of potential allergens such as dairy, egg, soy, gluten, coconut, peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame. Hence, most of the products are also suitable for vegans. As her business grew, Luckman developed a following among those in the entertainment business. Her clients have included rapper Snoop Dog and hip-hop impresario Steve Lobel, as well as having been featured on A & E’s Married at First Sight and on an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker.
Almost two years ago, Luckman found a growing need to serve the gentile and Jewish communities by turning her baking business into a complete kosher pareve (dairy-free) enterprise. “I was getting more calls to omit eggs and milk products, so we decided to make a go. Our business gets supported by the many rabbis recommending our goods,” Luckman comments.
When asked what she finds the hardest to do, she doesn’t pause. “Finding good bakers. If they have been working for as a baker for a while, they don’t understand how to work with my recipes that I have personally developed, sometimes working on them for weeks, if not months. When someone fresh comes in, I can train them to work with the types of flours we use. It’s a specific process particular to our products.”
Luckily, those with allergies can now have some of the best in award-winning baked goods (TasteTV’s “Healthy Gourmet Snacks of the Year Awards” and ““People’s Choice Award for Most Innovative New Product” at the International Food Service & Restaurant Show) in the world including bagels, black and white cookies, and challah. Seriously, what child or adult could go through life without devouring a bagel and a smear? They won’t have to go without, due to Allie Luckman and her GF Goodies. #nochildleftout.
Food People Questionnaire (with a nod to Proust):
What is your favorite food to cook at home?
I love to make either a full roasted turkey or chicken. My family loves it, giving them the feeling of comfort. Along the same lines I love to make them traditional chicken soup, and they have always loved mine the best.
What do you always have in your fridge at home?
In my fridge at home, we have freshly sliced turkey breast, a variety of cheeses, and kosher pickles, both half sour and garlic dill.
What marked characteristic do you love in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
I enjoy eating with people who enjoy and appreciate good food.
What marked characteristic do you find unappealing in a person with whom you are sharing a meal?
I hate eating with people with bad table manners.
Beer, wine, or cocktail?
I am definitely a wine person.
Your favorite cookbook author?
My favorite cookbook author has always been Mark Bittman.
Your favorite kitchen or bar tool?
I have three favorites in the kitchen. Every baker/ chef needs a whisk, a KitchenAid stand mixer, and a food processor.
Favorite types of cuisine to cook?
I like to cook all types of cuisine as long as there is flavor, room for personal flair, and not too spicy (although my husband will eat as spicy as I give him)!
Beef, chicken, pork, seafood, or tofu?
I’m either a chicken or beef person. Never tofu.
I love asparagus and broccoli, although I’m not personally allowed many vegetables.
Chef or culinary person you most admire?
I admire Florian Bellinger, the pastry chef.
Food you dislike the most?
I truly dislike mushrooms. I loathe the texture. However, I don’t mind the flavor in a sauce or soup.
What is your favorite non-food thing to do?
My favorite nonfood thing to do, aside from catching up on sleep, is spending time with my husband and grown children, either watching television or traveling.
Whom do you most admire in food?
I admire Ron Ben Israel for his cake business that he’s created.
Where is your favorite place to eat/ drink?
I live on Long Island. My local faves are 388 Restaurant, where they make excellent family style Italian food. They carry and use my products, and are hyper vigilant about my celiac disease so that I can eat safely. I have always been a Peter Luger’s fan—like every New Yorker. And my go-to in Manhattan these days is Felidia, where they take celiac disease very seriously.
Do you have any tattoos? And if so, how many are of food?
I do not have a tattoo, nor will I ever. I’ve had so many surgeries that I’m marked up enough.
Recipe: Allie’s Banana Bread
2 c Allie’s flour
3/4 c sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 t salt
1/2 c unsalted butter or Earth Balance, softened
1 t baking soda
1 t vanilla
1/2 t cinnamon
1/3 T lowfat or hemp milk
1/4 c chocolate chips or blueberries (optional)
• Preheat oven to 350.
• In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar
• Beat eggs in separate bowl and add butter/sugar to the mixture. Then add bananas, milk, and vanilla until well blended.
• In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Then add to the banana mixture until fully blended.
• Add chocolate chips or blueberries, if desired.
• Pour into greased pan and bake 50-60 minutes for loaf.
– The End. Go Eat. –