CAFE REVIEW: FODDIES, ALBERT PARK VIC

A hidden gem for all fodmap dieters.

There are certain things in life that can either bring you down or motivate you to do something you never thought possible. Luke Lucas and Christina Glentis experienced just this. Both individuals love food to no-end but also suffer from food allergies which made it impossible to eat much of anything at your everyday cafés. They also shared unpleasant experiences when going on dinner dates due to their combined allergies. This gave them the motivation they needed to start their Foddies journey. And what a journey it has become.

With Luke’s knowledge in business and Chrissy’s love of cooking the two set-out to produce allergy free meals online. The success with their online store lead them to open a café space where customers with LoFo (Low FODMAP), gluten free and other food allergy requirements could have a sit-down meal in an inviting environment.

Luke and Chrissy built their whole business on social media, they really took to promoting what they stood for and what they could do for others with similar diet pains. Their main goal has always been to make sure that all customers that enter their café, leave happy and most of all feeling good. This philosophy helps when they hire staff that can relate to their customers due to having allergies themselves.

The staff are pro-active in asking customers that walk-in just what they suffer from. They carefully guide them through the menu accommodating any allergies by giving them options or simply substituting what is on the menu with something safe for them to eat.

Chrissy gains her inspiration for the menu from top trendy cafes in Melbourne, carefully choosing the most delicious meals and substituting ingredients in order to suit their low fodmap customer base. Her aim is to create meals delicious enough for anyone to eat. Luke mentioned that they do offer regular versions of certain foods such as the Chicken Parmigiana which is their most popular meal. He also told me a secret, the Chicken Parma was changed to gluten free quite a while ago and none of their regular clients even noticed a difference in the taste so they just kept with it!

With the high demand for allergy free foods, Luke and Chrissy began to create pre-prepared meal kits. All the customer had to do was put it all together and cook it. The feedback they received from this was that customers had little time or care to cook it themselves and much preferred ready-made frozen meals. This lead to them selling out of 3,000 frozen meals in one month, gaining 40 wholesale stores in Melbourne and 40 in South Australia.

The dynamic two went onto opening Foddies Donuts in Moonee Ponds! I have no allergies and I can tell you that these donuts are scrumptious. Now, I am not being biased but their coffee donut made with left-over espresso shots of our fruity Bella blend tastes like heaven on earth.

The two had been experimenting with donut recipes for a while before they were finally able to nail the recipe down. “We completely underestimated how popular they were going to be and it wasn’t long before people were travelling from all over to grab some delicious LoFo, Gluten Free donuts.” Chrissy.

In the midst of all this success Luke and Chrissy decided they needed an investor on board and this lead them to the well know television series, Shark Tank. It was a huge secret when I was interviewing them both, little did I know that they had managed to convince Janine, founder of Boost Juice and part-owner of Retail Zoo, to join their team as an investor. There was also a surprise proposal on screen that no-one saw coming with Luke’s marriage proposal to Chrissy! They really are the dream couple.

If you are like Luke and Chrissy and struggle to find a space to dine in that will provide you with the right foods to suit your allergies then Foddies is the place for you. You may even want to take the stress of cooking off your shoulders for a while and take home some ready prepared frozen Fodmart meals! Oh, and don’t forget a sneaky doughnut for later!

*FODMAPs are a collection of molecules found in the food we eat, that can be poorly absorbed by some people.