LOCAL Houston | The City Guide April 2017 - Page 18

FOOD ON THE RISE LEVEN BAKING COMPANY’S GLUTEN-FREE GOODNESS Give up gluten and give up taste, right? Wrong, if you’re enjoying the handcrafted breads and pastries (that are also-lactose free) of LEVEN BAKING COMPANY , where everything is made with the highest-quality organic ingredients. Leven is a home-based, gluten-free baking company located in the Greater Eastwood neighborhood; you may have seen their products – cookies, cakes and breads – at the East End Street Market every Sunday from 10am–2pm. You can also visit their web- site and check out their menu at www.levenbakingco.com for special orders. Everything is available for delivery within the Houston area. Started by owner and baker CHRISTIAN ALVARADO , Leven is guided by four key elements: ”good health, nutrition, hands and heart.“ With these elements in mind, Leven brings together everything necessary for delivering the ”highest-quality, gluten-free baked goods possible.“ The circuitous backstory: After a successful 15-year career as a licensed sports massage therapist, fitness trainer and nutritional coach, Christian decided to pursue another passion to further his knowledge in food, nutrition and meal planning – baking. He attended the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of Houston in 2010 to pursue a culinary degree, and attended Le Cordon Bleu, Madrid, in 2012 to complete a three-month baking and pastry certification. After completing his culinary education and returning to Houston, he enrolled at the University of Houston to study for a Hotel and Restaurant Management degree. Two years into the program, he says, “I decided it was time to take a break from my studies to acquire some practical experience and secured myself a position as a baker, at a gluten-free bakery in Napa, California, where I worked for six months through the 2015 holiday season.“ Upon returning to Houston from Napa, he decided to postpone his education in order to start developing his own gluten-free recipes and to make plans for his future business. “I built my own sourdough starter and started baking gluten free breads for friends out of my home kitchen, and in November 2016, Leven was born.“ This year, they continue to rise. www.levenbakingco.com | info@levenbakingco.com By Tim Moloney Photography courtesy of Leven Baking Company 18 L O C AL | april 17