When pastry chef Liran Adika acted on his life-long dream and opened up Glazed Gluten Free in February 2020, he knew establishing a new food business would be a challenge, but little did he realise what a ride he was in for over the next 18 months.
Adika, who trained under various iconic names in the hospitality industry both locally and overseas, including Shannon Bennett of Vue De Monde, knew that there was a huge opportunity to create stunning pastries and desserts, equally impressive in looks and flavours, that would cater to people across all dietary requirements and cultural observances. The secret to Glazed blossoming and thriving through some of Victoria’s harshest pandemic lockdowns, however, was thanks to Adika’s creativity and ability to think on his feet.
Moving with the times
“The original concept of Glazed was to create a contemporary and sophisticated patisserie where people from all walks of life could indulge in delicious and beautiful desserts and baked goods without any worries,” said Adika. Serving up cakes, slices, muffins, breads and bespoke sweet and savoury creations, Glazed is strictly kosher (supervised by Kosher Australia), with the entire menu free from gluten, dairy and nuts, while offering many options that are vegan-friendly and low-FODMAP suitable as well.
While Melbourne foodies flocked to the opening of Glazed in early 2020, with the patisserie receiving rave reviews for Adika’s outstanding flavours and inspiring designs, COVID-19 hit hard.
“No doubt it was a challenging time for my team and me, but instead of being shocked and heartbroken, we took the opportunity to create new experiences for our customers,” said Adika.
With the majority of his customers staying home and unable to visit friends and family, Adika created the Glazed Celebration Boxes – a curated selection of sweet and savoury delights that provided variety for the whole family, and the perfect edible gift to send to loved ones. “Instead of committing to one large cake, our Celebration Boxes are a way to sample a little bit of everything that Glazed has to offer, and certainly comes with a huge ‘wow’ factor,” said Adika.
Adika also took Glazed beyond the bustling streets of Elsternwick, and offered free delivery to all corners of Melbourne and beyond, stretching as far away as Geelong and Pakenham. “With travel restrictions in place, many of our customers lived outside of the allowed 5 and 10km radius, and were unable to come to the shop for their favourite breads or desserts. So instead, we brought our offerings to them!”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Adika’s ideas continued to flow, and when Victoria had a short reprieve from lockdown restrictions in early 2021, he launched Australia’s very first gluten-free and kosher high tea. With Sunday afternoon sessions booked out within days, Glazed High Tea sessions featured savoury wraps and quiches, cakes, and the quintessential scones with jam and cream – much to the delight of diners with dietary sensitivities.
Understanding the importance of celebrating holidays, festivals and special occasions, especially during challenging times, Adika also keeps his customers thrilled with an ever-changing menu tailored for different times of the year. “During Pesach our kitchen undergoes stringent cleaning and produces certified kosher l’Pesach treats. During Jewish festivals like Shavuot, Purim, Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah, we fill our display cases with unique interpretations of traditional treats so that no one has to miss out on the celebrations.”
With Melbourne diners joyously embracing the lifting of travel and dining restrictions, Adika is excited to be back into the swing of things.
“It brings me so much joy to be able to greet my customers in the morning, to welcome new visitors to the shop and introduce them to our desserts, and to watch their eyes light up and the huge smiles on their faces when they get excited about what’s on offer. One of my favourite comments I love hearing from customers is: ‘I never thought I’d ever be able to have that!’.
“No matter the allergies, the observances, or even the travel rules, I think we have proven, and will continue to prove, that with our genuine passion to create delicious experiences for our customers, Glazed will do our very best to sweeten up anyone’s day!” said Adika.
Glazed Gluten Free is located at 2/1-3 Carre Street, Elsternwick. For more information, call (03) 9533 0315 or visit glazedglutenfree.com.au