Editor’s note: Kelowna local Nicole Knegt appears immediately after the 92 second introduction above.
Snail-mailing a large piece of cardboard in the shape of a slice of bread to a company you’d like to work with isn’t your typical business strategy.
“It was a gutsy move,” said Matthew Knegt of Kelowna, B.C., co-founder of Four Spoons Bakery, a micro bakery specializing in gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free goods.
Knegt, 30, and his wife Nicole sent the laser-cut two-by-one-and-a-half-foot cardboard toast with a bite mark to world-renowned food guru Jamie Oliver’s production company on a whim, in hopes of being featured on his award-winning YouTube cooking channel, Jamie’s Food Tube.
Engraved on the bread-shaped cardboard was the message, “Gluten-free bread can taste like cardboard. A special-diets Food Tube channel could help change this.” The Knegts included a link to a custom portfolio website which invited Oliver to consider partnering with them to bring delicious gluten and allergen-friendly recipes to the world.
Oliver launched a search last month for foodie talent among the world’s greatest entrepreneurial chefs, cooks and artisans. This “fresh talent” will be uploaded to his Food Tube channel, where views and “thumbs-up” votes will help determine who is given the opportunity to work with his network.
In a recent video, Oliver explains his new Fresh Talent Playlist: “We want to find the best people from around the world and get it up on Food Tube so we can share it with everyone.”
Since its kickoff in January 2013, Jamie’s Food Tube has become a cooking show and online recipe resource for the masses. It is the largest foodie community in Europe and boasts 1 million plus subscribers.
The Knegts shot a video featuring a gluten-free and dairy-free adaptation of Jamie’s chocolate profiterole (cream puff) recipe from his most recent cookbook, Comfort Food. When Oliver’s team uploaded it to Jamie’s Food Tube, they dubbed Nicole as “the Canadian queen of gluten free baking.”
Nicole’s knack for tweaking run-of-the-mill recipes into glorious allergen-friendly deliciousness could be a game changer in the foodie world and for countless people worldwide who have dietary restrictions.
Nicole is anaphylactic to all dairy and is also sensitive to gluten, yeast, and a number of other foods. Matthew also has a number of sensitivities to various foods.
“We felt there was a niche for a food channel that caters to those of us who live with allergies, celiac disease, and other food sensitivities,” said Knegt.
The Canadian couple recently closed Four Spoons Bakery to focus on creating an online educational resource, fourspoonsglutenfreerecipes.com, for individuals with celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and food allergies. They also launched a YouTube cooking channel in September.
The Knegt’s chocolate profiterole video is featured alongside eight fellow Food Tube fresh talent competitors, who have already earned considerable recognition within the food industry as MasterChef champions, TV chefs, authors and food writers. Seven are London-based and one is from Dublin.
“We are beyond thrilled,” Nicole said. “Please watch the video and give us a thumbs up! We hope to make Canada proud and to be able to provide high-quality gluten-free and allergen-friendly recipes.”
The Knegt’s video can be viewed by clicking here.