Live Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe Q&A

Photo courtesy of Sandi Hillis
Even though I've only know Sandi Hillis for about a year, I feel like we go way back. She's genuine, down to earth, and just so easy to talk to. I was first acquainted with her business through the Grand Rapids Gluten-Free fair, and had a great time interviewing her for a Top 10 Gluten-Free restaurants in Michigan article I wrote for the Awesome Mitten. 

Back then I wrote about how great her cupcakes were, but please know that Sandi is skilled in more than just cupcakes. The photos below just include a sampling of all the amazing things this "gluten-free mad scientist" can create. Don't just take my word for it - read more about Sandi's baking philosophy in her own words. 

Photo courtesy of Sandi Hillis 
1. What inspired you to become a baker? Why the focus on gluten-free?
After a cancer and celiac disease diagnosis over a decade ago, I started creating gluten-free baked goods to meet my own dietary needs. All the while, friends would try what I had made, requesting me to bake for them. They all encouraged me to open my own gluten-free business. Finally after 30 years of working in the private sector, I finally took a leap of faith and made a job switch.

2. Are there other highlights of your products?  Dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free etc?
We use the freshest ingredients possible which are all free from gmo's. We also use organic and local ingredients as much as possible, taking in mind cost to the consumer. While my facility is not free of other allergens (aside from gluten of course), I am always willing to create baked goods for others that are "free from" other allergens. I was coined the "Mad Scientist" because I once successfully made an order for a customer that needed cupcakes that were free from 14 different allergens,

Photo courtesy of Sandi Hillis 
3. What steps do you take to insure that your products are truly gluten-free?
We are a dedicated gluten-free facility and we only source certified gluten-free ingredients. We also do ELISA testing when needed.

4  Can you share a story of a customer who's been greatly impacted by your business?
Yes,  I had a grown man burst into a full sob because his son who is autistic asked for a bakery cake for his 15th  Birthday.   The cake needed to be gluten-free, dairy-free, casein-free, nut-free and corn-free.    I was able to create my own powdered sugar without corn and made a professionally decorated cake, just for him.   After his birthday party they brought in a video of when he got to see his cake and the emotion and excitement made me cry. There wasn't a dry eye at his

Photo courtesy of Sandi Hillis
5. What would you like consumers to know about your products and your business?
We go to great lengths to provide the freshest, high-quality and best-tasting bakery items.   We also are able to take on the challenge of taking family favorites and converting them to gluten-free favorites.  I have an 89 year old customer who brought me her great grandma's German Strudel recipe to convert to a gluten-free recipe.   The instructions were hand written on a yellowed, delicate paper that needed to be translated from German to English before I could begin.    When I presented her with the final product she teared up and said I was an angel from heaven. She hugged me and said she has hung onto the recipe and thought she would never pass it down to another person, due to her allergies. I'm honored to have been chosen as the person she felt safe sharing it with.

Live Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe
1062 E Sternberg Rd
Norton Shores MI 49444
Open Tuesday thru Thursday 10 am-7 pm , Friday & Saturday 8am-7pm, Sunday 8 am- 3pm
Closed on Mondays
(231) 747- 6219

Website / Facebook / Twitter 

You can also find Live Gluten Free Bakery breads and desserts at the local Grand Traverse Pie Company, The Hearth Stone, and Small Town Sandwich Shop,

Live Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe is one of many great, dedicated gluten-free bakeries across the state of Michigan. Make sure to follow along with my #MichigansBestGF Bakery Search and learn about over 20 gluten-free bakers in Michigan. Click this link to see a comprehensive list of all the gluten-free bakeries in Michigan, complete with interactive map! Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Periscope for pictures and live videos too!