“I once made my wife breakfast and about halfway through she was like, this is really tasty, and then we figured out that she was eating my toast and I was eating hers”, says Jonty as he recounts the time in which he accidentally glutened his poor wife Laura.
“That’s me not having my work head on on a Sunday morning, at least it was Laura”
With his wife, Laura, being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance Jonty, owner and manager of Made by Jonty, as the name would suggest, understands the problems of gluten related illnesses from a very personal point of view.
“For Laura she gets these really bad kind of spots on her face, she gets really bunged up, just as if you’ve got a cold she gets really bunged up and gets really bloated and things like that. I think that’s quite a symptom of intolerance, from what I’ve heard, all the big protein chains just stick in your gut and don’t kind of go anywhere.”
I’m sure those are some of the symptoms we can all relate to, particularly the bloating side of things! Jonty’s a local lad who opened Made by Jonty nearly five years ago now after working at various restaurants and bars around the city. “[I] just wanted to step back from fine-dining, late nights, weekends, things like that, and wanted to start my own thing.”
Moving away from those tiring late nights, Made by Jonty is part of café culture which Jonty so nicely describes as, “the informality of eating”. Known mainly for their big brunches, Made by Jonty offers a wide selection of breakfasts, salads and, more amazingly, gluten free cakes!
“My wife used to be, well she still is, a massive cake addict. She’s really fit and she does a really energetic job but will just consume cake at a fast rate. I only really made a cake shop to satisfy her needs.”
Thanks, in part, to Laura’s love of cake, all of the sponges are gluten free and a wide variety of cakes are too. Unfortunately the muffins and the pastries are not, “we found that Xanthium gum doesn’t kind of give it that muffin crack and lift. We toyed with gluten free pastry but we just find that normal pastry’s way easier to work with.”
“But the brownies are gluten free, they’re made with rice flour, all the sponge cakes are gluten free sometimes we make cupcakes so to make a red velvet cupcake or something like that they’d be gluten free but the only thing we use gluten for is to make the pastry and the muffins. We have flapjacks which are wheat free but they’re just not gluten free. So [about] 80% of the actual stuff on the counter is made gluten free which we’re happy with that. It’s a good hit.”
With 80% of the cakes being gluten free you’re in for a tough choice. No need to panic about cross contamination between your gluten and gluten free baked goods though as Jonty’s got that down to a tee, “My job’s 60% cleaning, 40% cooking.”
“As professional chefs you just clean as you go. If you just compartmentalise [the job], i.e. not making something with gluten in at the same time as making something gluten free, you just do that one, clean the surface, start something else. Don’t half make your pastry and then start trying to make a cake.”
As well as their delicious cakes, Made by Jonty prides itself with its array of breakfast and brunch options, “our thing is brunch, I try to make a lot of really healthy salads and I think really [it’s about] taking care of people’s kind of diet”. Upon picking up a menu, however, you will notice that there’s no gluten free fry-up, the regular fry up containing both sausages and black pudding, neither of which are gluten free. Unfortunately at the moment it does not seem to be cost effective for Jonty to make the switch to gluten free sausages however there was, and there may one day be again, the option for Eggs with Benefits.
“Eggs with Benefits was a big baked field mushroom with roast tomato, spinach, poached eggs hollandaise and then you have a sausage called Merguez. Merguez sausage is beef and lamb and it’s a bit spicy, a really oily kind of paprika-y sausage. It’s really, really nice. Our supplier we use they go to France and there’s a big hypermarket just outside Paris so it’s a legitimate French product too.”
With Jonty’s wife being gluten intolerant he understands that it’s not just-another-fad-diet. The menu is helpfully labelled gluten free or gluten tailor-able (gt): “which just means there’s an element in the dish which contains gluten but we can just take it away; so your toast, maybe garnishes or whatever it might be.”
Speaking of toast, Made by Jonty are currently using Warburton’s gluten free loaves, toasting them under the grill and using a separate butter and jam to avoid any unwanted cross contamination. As a final word on the topic of cross contamination, how gluten free are the fryers?
“The only thing that goes in the fryer are the hash browns, which are gluten free, and the chips. All you do then is you have a veggie fryer and you have a meat fryer so you kind of dispense it like that. But it’s only chips and hash browns that get deep fried here anyway.
With this café performing really well it seems only logical that Jonty would be looking at branching out, “I don’t want another building, I’m quite blinkered. I’m good at being here and just doing this, I wouldn’t be very good at managing 6 shops or whatever!”
Instead of more shops Jonty plans to keep doing what he’s best at, running his cosy café on Sharrow Vale road, continuing to produce fresh, tasty food. “We try to change things and keep things fresh, exciting me and the guys in the kitchen because we make stuff and then get bored of it and then have to just go and make something else cause otherwise we’d just do our heads in.”
“I’m going to start trying to do more outside things, I’ve got a couple of people who want me to cater buffets for them. That’s it. Just trying to make nice, healthy, well-balanced plates of food I think.”