Lee Tobin was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 1996 while he was working as a baker (of all things) for Whole Foods (formerly Wellspring) in Chapel Hill. Fortunately for all of us, his employer decided to let Lee tinker with creating and baking some Gluten Free baked goods. This process began in the Chapel Hill store as a Tuesday 4 hour baking shift with just Lee, his separate Gluten Free equipment and ingredients. The first product was cream biscuits and eventually Lee developed recipes for scones, muffins and sandwich bread. The products became very popular in the Chapel Hill store - Wednesday mornings were flooded with GF shoppers looking for Lee's creations. Eventually, the shifts and products expanded as well as the distribution to Whole Foods Raleigh, Cary and Durham stores.
As the word around North Carolina spread, other Gluten Free consumers began to wonder why they couldn't have Gluten Free items in their stores like those of us in the Triangle were lucky enough to have. The Winston-Salem GIG support group worked with the national GIG organization to bring the annual conference to Winston-Salem, NC in 2002. Lee Tobin was featured at that conference for what he was doing with Whole Foods and as they say "The rest is history".
Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse
Before long, Lee Tobin was granted his dream - a completely Gluten Free dedicated facility to make his Gluten Free baked items full time. Whole Foods opened the Gluten Free Bakehouse in 2004 in Morrisville, NC - just a short drive from Raleigh. The facility is an 8,000 square foot Gluten Free baked-good-making-machine which now employs nearly 30 people and makes 30 different products including pizza crust, bread, muffins, cookies, cupcakes, pies, scones, biscuits, brownies, and much more.
-Click here for the WF GF Bakehouse Web site.