Friday, August 7, 2015


I first came across Laurel Gallucci's pastel-hued + flower-adorned pastries through her partner Claire's The Kitchy Kitchen. I've been an avid follower of Claire's stunning work, from her recipes such as this let-me-wipe-the-drool-off-my-mouth Kippy's homage ice cream to her whimsical + quick 10 second living videos [cucumber + rosewater mask à la the force behind How You Glow for a goddess glow]. It's not a surprise and a true gift to all of us that these incredibly talented women joined forces to create Sweet Laurel Bakery. 

3-D Printing is not sufficient technology in this case—I am wishing away for an invention that would allow me to plop my head + hands straight from my monitor and into a pillow of Sweet Laurel cake . . . or dot each finger Amélie Poulain-style with jewels of chocolate caramel icing. Top it off with a strawberry—no need to put a ring on it. I might be developing a long-distance love affair with these creations. Anyone who suffers from autoimmune issues + its multitude of dietary complications will nod in agreement and sing a shrill of a hallelujah! 

Meet the makers behind my flower-adorned sweet dreams + pastry-fueled prayers . . .

L A U R E L  G A L L U C C I  +  C L A I R E  T H O M A S  
S W E E T   L A U R E L   B A K E R Y | los angeles, california

Q: Tell us a little bit about you and what led you to create Sweet Laurel Bakery. What were some road blocks in the beginning of your journey?
Claire | My friend Laurel, who has baked delicious treats her whole life, was struck with an awful auto-immune disorder. Her doctor put her on a strict elimination diet, and told her "You'll never eat chocolate cake again." I watched my friend struggle, since like me, she's deeply emotionally connected to her food. After months of baking treats for her family and friends she couldn't touch, she finally thought "Enough is enough" and started tinkering with the ingredients she could eat. When I tasted her baked goods I was blown away: tender and moist, full of flavor, the opposite of pasty brick-like gluten free and vegan goods I was used to. Laurel mentioned she might want to start selling them, and I came on to help take Sweet Laurel to the next level and the larger audience it deserves. There's no excuse for mediocre food, and I love the idea of bringing something so simple and so delicious to people who are rethinking how they eat.

Laurel | I've baked delicious treats since I could turn on the oven: chocolate chip cookies for my brothers, layer cakes for community events. From the beginning, I liked to keep things simple. When I had to completely restructure my diet, I found that I spent most of the time asking "Why does this need to be in here?" I took all of my favorite recipes and dishes, and stripped them down to the essentials. No filler, no weird stuff. Most of the Sweet Laurel recipes are four or five ingredients, including salt. I wanted everything I put into a dish to give something back. Grainfree baking can seem so complicated, but when you break it down it can be the easiest baking you've ever done. 

I'm also a career educator, so teaching people about my style of cooking has been a cornerstone of what we do. Sure, we can supply delicious cakes for an event, but I believe in that old phrase "teach a man to fish and you feed him for life." I want to educate people so they can have fun in their own kitchen, and enjoy beautiful food every day.

Q: Why grain-free + refined sugar-free baked goods?
Laurel | I have a form of Hashimoto's, which has made me very sensitive to gluten, grains, refined sugar, dairy, and a number of other food items. They cause inflammation flare ups, which can undo all of the work I’ve put into healing. For me, it's a matter of doing what's best for my body.

Claire | When we first started Sweet Laurel, the idea was to create something fresh and new in the paleo world, but it's become so much more than that. So many people have reached out to us who not only follow the paleo diet by choice, but who struggle with food allergies, auto immune and thyroid issues, parasites, conditions that require an anti-inflammatory diet. We're creating food that can be enjoyed by the largest amount of people. 

Q: When you are not working on Sweet Laurel Bakery, what else do you like to do?
Claire | Laurel and I are big history nerds, so we're usually nose deep in a book - me in the shade like vampire and laurel in the soaking in the rays. I'm busy with my blog and youtube channel, The Kitchy Kitchen, so I divide my efforts between my career and Sweet Laurel.

Laurel | I love long walks, so my husband and I will spend evenings walking across the neighborhood, bumping into friends. I've gotten really into the science of eating, so I've been elbow deep in books on biology and the gut.

Q: What are some of your favourite snacks or foods that fuel your creative process?
Laurel | I love handfuls of fruit, almonds, basically anything fresh and snack-y.

Claire | I love the aesthetic and smell of coffee, but am the slooooowest drinker. Coffee with a biscuit or something dunkable usually does the trick.

Q: What are your three staples for glowing health?
Claire and Laurel | Good fats, organic produce, and simplicity. You need good fats (coconut is our favorite) to keep you full and satisfied - plus they taste so good! Fresh organic produce is filled with color, texture, and nutrition, so it's a guaranteed way to look and feel better. Simplicity not only means taking the additives out of your diet, but also putting your phone away before you go to bed, getting good sleep, walking or biking instead of driving. Give yourself a break from how hectic life can be, and find body positive ways to treat yourself.

Q: What are some sources of inspiration for you?
Claire | When I think about the aesthetic or Sweet Laurel, I always approach the photography and styling of the food with a sense of modern simplicity. It should be colorful, textured, but sort of natural and wild. The flower market is a big inspiration for me. Flowers are perfect as they are - they don't need any adornment, and that idea of beauty through simplicity really resonates with me. On top of that, Laurel and I are both old school in our approach to food, so the classic American cookbook is where we always turn for recipe inspiration. 

Q: What is your next big vision for Sweet Laurel Bakery?
Laurel | Definitely the workshops and education. That is what I'm most passionate about, and whatever I can do to reach the most people if my goal. We've discussed possibly doing a podcast, cookbook, maybe even live streaming classes? Having people come together in person is important to me, but for those who can't travel or live out of town, I'd like to find a way to reach them too.