Sobecki, a Piscataway native, has had several professional roles over the years — from hair stylist to mortgage loan officer to business coach and consultant—but she’s finally found her calling with The Difference Baker, her bake shop in Loudoun County, VA.
It’s an idea, she said, that God put into her heart.
Her shop in Ashburn is the only retail location in the United States that carries nine certifications that it is free from top food allergens.
And as the number of those with food allergies increases, more and more people are looking for shops just like The Difference Baker, especially when it comes to buying celebratory sweets and everyday treats.
According to the CDC, almost 6% of the US population has food allergies. Count Sobecki among them.
“I was sick my whole entire life,” said Sobecki, who suffered with undiagnosed food allergies into her mid 20s. “I’ve always had to dig deep into food ingredients and do research for myself and family. I’ve had to self-advocate.”
When food allergies are an issue, every safeguard must be taken to avoid contamination, and The Difference Baker does just that. Its food is certified free from gluten, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, fish, sesame, and crustacean.
“We only carry milk and eggs in our facility,” said Sobecki, “and we’re very good about cross contamination. We take every precaution.”
The Difference Baker opened at its current location in November 2019 after months of testing recipes.
“We designed our offerings with foods we miss the most,” said Sobecki.
“Tortillas (out of a root vegetable flour) was our first recipe, but our doughnuts are the #1 seller. And we cannot keep our freshly fried chicken (gluten-free and only on Fridays) in stock.”
Ready-to-eat food like Stromboli, cakes, and pretzel bites, among others or allergen-free food like bread products can be purchased in store and ordered online for shipping across the US. Unfortunately, the Ashburn facility at 20937 Ashburn Rd #130 is too small for eating-in.
“In our next location,” said Sobecki talking of plans she’s already put in motion but would not divulge, “we’ll have a large eat-in area. That will be the concept moving forward.
“I think we will be the first allergen-free fast-food restaurant in the United States, to serve a market that is completely underserved. That’s my goal.”
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