Rowie Dillon is undoubtedly Australia’s gluten-free goddess. Her healthy sweet treat business, Rowie’s Cakes, started humbly in a Marrickville factory in 2001 and ever since then the popularity and variety of her range has grown enormously.
We have Rowie’s gut feeling to thank for her lust-have range of take-home cakes and treats (rocky road, passionfruit syrup cakes, chocolate brownies, to name a few). Born from a desire to cater for her own dietary needs and curious nature, it was a feeling that gluten was upsetting her digestion that set the bliss ball rolling, and has seen her become the cherry on top of the gluten-free world. The good news for 2014? Rowie is all set to expand her range with a line of savoury products. And we can’t wait.
Rowie’s Cakes has just clocked 13 years, what’s your advice for those who are sensitive to gluten and want to bake at home?
Study the different flours available, experiment and play and bake to your heart’s content. You don’t have to be stuck with a life of culinary boredom!
That kind of enthusiam pretty much sums up your cookbook, Indulge (Harper Collins, $40).
Indulge does more than inspire with gluten-free desserts; it takes the perception of boring to the theatre, and bumps the word bland out of ‘gluten-free’ forever! I aspire to the fact that you don’t have to be gluten-free or coeliac to enjoy wicked-tasting food, Indulge is testament to that.
Who taught you to cook?
My mum, my aunt and myself. My sister Simone spoke at my 40th birthday and said: “Rowena is very creative, to the point where she doesn’t realise it. It’s natural to her; she thinks it's how we all think. How anyone can create a gourmet meal from an empty pantry is beyond me, but Rowie does it and delivers you something that looks and tastes sensational.” Bless her.
Your family sound pretty proud of you. Who are you super proud of?
To see the strength of my brand growing month on month, year on year, and the difference Rowie’s Cakes make to people who have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant. I am also unashamedly proud that you don’t have to be allergic or intolerant to devour my treats. They’re awesome!
How do you start your day?
I love what I call my Rowie’s Munchy Muesli first thing in the morning; a combination of red rice flakes, brown rice puffs, red apple, red grape, golden sultana and amaranth flakes. I’m also a fanatic juicer; I’ll juice up some spinach, kale, cucumber and green apple to drink on the way to work early in the morning.
You’re appearing at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show?
I am so excited to be part of the show. I feel I will be inspired and educated and I’ll also be in heaven – it will be like a whole lot of kids in a candy store! I’ll be whipping up a chocolate mousse storm in the Delicious Kitchen with KitchenAid. And I can’t wait to meet Eric Lanlard, a.k.a. Mr Cake Man, and the Pick Your Poison girls from Cupcake Wars USA.
Talk about a sugar high! Do you have any other food heroes?
I love Ripailles, a French cookbook by Stéphane Reynaud, because of the recipes, the layout and the gorgeous images. I also love reading Elizabeth David, especially her daily life through food and experimenting. My favourite websites are Saveur; Jamie Oliver; Goop!; and SBS Food.
Kitchen Farmacy Editor: Kris Franken