‘Wheatless’ brothers bring full flavour


Aidan and Ben Doherty the ‘Wheatless’ brothers

It’s the savoury aromas that first draw you towards the ‘Wheatless’ marquee. As a Coeliac, it’s difficult to describe the excitement I felt when I first saw it, and on tasting the food, I can only describe the experience as Coeliac food heaven.

I watched as the owner of the business Aidan Doherty and his brother Ben cheerfully chatted with customers, while wearing their specially printed aprons which display their slogan ‘trust me I’m a Coeliac’. They listened to and shared stories about Coeliac experiences with their customers, forming almost, a support group atmosphere. As a Coeliac I found it extremely comforting that the person cooking my food, understands the disease, and knows from experience exactly what can go wrong if glutened. 

Aidan started his business ‘Wheatless’ in August 2018,  and it is a 100 per cent Gluten Free fast food business which serves fresh handmade, gourmet pancakes and burgers. He operates in farmers markets across Munster and also caters for all occasions including weddings and birthdays. In Limerick they are at the Crescent Shopping Centre Market every Friday from 10am until 4pm and the Milk Market on Saturdays from 8am until 2pm. 

“The biggest motivating factor in creating the business for me was the complete lack of high quality, gourmet Gluten Free (GF) and Wheat Free (WF) food available in the marketplace. 

“For Coeliacs, convenience is not a word we use in abundance when looking for food while out on a daily basis. I wanted to prove that GF and WF food can be delicious and that having Coeliac disease and intolerance doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality,” said Aidan.

Having being diagnosed six years ago by complete accident in the UK, Aidan said he had suffered symptoms for many years prior to this and it was completely missed in Ireland, now knowing the signs and symptoms, he and his family have realised that Coeliac disease and Gluten intolerance is prevalent in his family. 

“I believe it is similar for most other families but they have not been diagnosed yet. Once diagnosed, I hadn’t heard of the disease before or knew anyone with it. It was a difficult dietary adjustment but it really got me into cooking which was a good thing. The gluten free market has come a long way since then in supermarkets at least, but has a long way to go to offer high quality, convenient food for us,” added Aidan. 

Aidan said it baffles him as to why it is so difficult to get a Coeliac diagnosis in Ireland, “Ireland has one of the highest propensities to Coeliac disease in the world. The medical community is not as aware nor have the conviction of testing people to identify these issues. A lack of training might point to it, but it has to be a government led testing programme as a simple screening process for this disease may save a lot of money in investigating other avenues that may be simply fixed by a GF diet”.

‘Wheatless’ brothers at the Crescent Shopping Centre Farmers Market


As well as the clever slogans on their aprons, their other slogan is “No Grain, No Pain” which they use because it’s catchy and fun.

“Coeliacs have to be so careful when eating out and trust is a pertinent issue for us. There is a high level of confidence and comfort knowing you are being served by a fellow Coeliac,” said Aidan. 

When Coeliacs first come to their stall, Aidan said their reaction is Surprise. They cannot believe that everything on the menu is gluten and wheat free and that there is so much choice of things that they couldn’t ordinarily have, “Once the shock subsides and they realise they can have everything, everybody is filled with excitement.  

“The Coeliac community is very open and share their stories in a frank manner. Every customer I meet, whether a direct sufferer or not, tells me about their experience or family members’ experience living with Coeliac disease or intolerances. 

“All of these people suffer a myriad of symptoms and no two cases are the same. It can affect sufferers in many different ways. We are living in a society now where people, for the most part, are more in tune with what they eat and how it may affect their health”.

‘Wheatless’ is going from strength to strength, and Aidan said his food is being enjoyed not just by Coeliacs but by everybody, “That was the key for me when starting the business. Serve high quality gourmet food that just so happened to be gluten and wheat free that nobody could tell the difference and to date it has worked. My food appeals to everybody, not just a niche section of the population”.

Aidan’s ambitions for the business are to operate in more farmers markets, then to go on and establish a brick and mortar restaurant and eventually to franchise the business to cover a nationwide market. Ultimately, he would like to see ‘Wheatless’ as being the GF and WF McDonalds of the world.

“Eating Gluten and Wheat free does not have to mean a lack of flavour or quality. I am doing my best to prove this to people and it is working thus far. A lot more needs to be done in offering high quality, not just an option, which can often mean salad without the croutons,” added Aidan. 

https://www.facebook.com/wheatlesscravings/

Cat Minders at Home and Brian’s Dog Grooming


Niamh and Niall Hogan are innovative entrepreneurs who have made their love of cats and dogs into two successful business ventures, Cat Minders at Home and Brian’s Dog Grooming.

The couple’s first pet together was a ginger cat named Brian, who had a bad heart condition. After much care and attention from Hugh O’Callaghan at the Crescent Veterinary Clinic, the couple had to make the heartbreaking decision to put Brian to sleep, at just age seven.

“Brian’s Dog Grooming was named after my cat, he was my best buddy and he has been an inspiration for us having our businesses now. I thought it would be nice to keep his name alive,” said Niall.

A fully qualified dog groomer, Niall trained with Perros Sí in Almuñécar in Spain, an intensive course where they teach one student at a time. He set up his business in 2015 and since then, it has grown from strength to strength. As well as having his own grooming parlour in Dooradoyle, he will soon be working one day a week in the Crescent Veterinary Clinic in Castletroy.

“My only regret is that I never did dog grooming when I was younger. I Love working with the dogs, it’s very therapeutic. You start cutting a dogs hair, two hours just disappear and there is a nice sense of achievement out of it,” added Niall.

Niamh who is qualified in cat care and training, dog psychology and has a diploma as a Veterinary Support Assistant and is Garda vetted, started her Cat Minders at Home business in 2012.

“I started the business because I had been looking after family and friends cats and I thought, I quite enjoy this. And also, cats are different to dogs, they are very territorial. We had put cats into kennels before, and when they came out they just weren’t themselves, so I thought there must be something better than kennels, that’s why I started the business,” said Niamh.

Niamh loves playing with, cuddling and feeding her furry clients, and can use her cat psychology on the most timid of pets.

“Most cats relax straight away, I think they know if you are a cat person. With some really timid cats and it could take a couple of visits. I usually leave them come to me, and I talk calmly, in a gentle voice to them,” added Niamh.

Niamh’s cat and dog psychology come in very handy in their busy household, where the couple have 6 rescue animals, a Great Dane, Labrador cross, wire haired Terrier and 3 cats.

“It works because we both really love animals. It’s nice to be able to make a bit of money out of something that you really, really like to do,” added Niall.

www.catmindersathome.com  086 3717050 

 www.briansdoggrooming.com  086 3276735

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Niall, Niamh and Chaka