Today we get to know L’Atelier des Lilas a bit better. L’Atelier des Lilas is an artisanal atelier that delivers everyday fresh, organic, great tasting gluten free, lactose free products all over the city of Paris. I love eating them and I am very happy to meet Alexandra Chaillat today: she is the co-founder of the Atelier des Lilas, and one strong, positive, lively young woman. Here she answers to my questions.
Chiara: Why gluten free?
Alexandra: I was diagnosed celiac eight years ago. Back then, there were very few gluten free products available, the brand Schar was all over and it wasn’t that great. Today some of its products have improved, so have others. I think that there has to be diversity in the ingredients we choose to cook and eat everyday. The objective to me is not to have everybody go gluten free. We have chosen a B to B model because our objective is to deliver our products to others professionals like coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores etc. so that people have the possibility to choose between gluten free and gluten.
It’s about making gluten free become more mainstream here in France.
Deliver to traditional, classic French places so that if I go there for example, I can find something that is 100% gluten free, good and safe from any contamination with gluten.
I am less for a place that is only gluten free and more for places that do both so I can go there with my family or friends, and everybody can choose what they would like to eat. Then, as it often happens, they try gluten free and they find out that it can be as good as its gluten counter part.
Gluten free is an alternative way of eating.
Chiara: What is L’Atelier des Lilas?
Alexandra: It is an atelier, a place where we create, make and bake 100% gluten free products that are fresh, most of them organic, with top quality ingredients, no OGM, artificial food colourings or additives.
We decided to concentrate on B to B model to deliver foods especially for lunch, as it can be the most critical moment of the day when you need to eat something gluten free and you cannot find anything nearby. This is why we came up with the idea to fill in that gap that we were experiencing and living every day.
Several of our products are also lactose-free.
Chiara: What is the main source of inspiration for your recipes?
Alexandra: My mother is American and my father is French. Since I was little I have always baked some American classics like cookies and brownies. When I discovered I was celiac, I just started to make them gluten free. So some recipes come from my mother and my grandmother and others are French traditional foods like quiche, madeleines and financiers for example.
Chiara: What is the gluten free food that you love the most?
Alexandra: Our newest product: the Fronut. It’s the French version of the American donut and it is baked, not fried. I also love a good Pad Thaï, I am a big fan of Asian cuisine.
Chiara: Gluten free is…
Alexandra: It’s my life, a big part of it. What bothers me, it’s the French word “sans gluten” (without gluten), it’s negative somehow. In English it’s different as it is free, gluten free. Furthermore going gluten free has let me discover a whole new world of ingredients, new flours and new flavours that are really good.