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Newstead, home to the notoriously indulgent Chester Street bakery, has a new rival to contend with. Nodo, a cafe specialising in gluten free donuts, provides nutritious and delectable treats to those among us with dietary sensitivities. And to those free to consume whatever we wish, Nodo gives us a guilt free snack. To understand the motivations and brains behind this new haven, I spoke with the creator, Kate Williams; discussing with her, the inspirations and steps in creating her business. In addition to chatting with the founder herself, I also sampled Nodo’s offerings,and relaxed in their chic minimalist cafe coupled with a quality coffee.
What first inspired the idea of Nodo?
KW: Nodo was about putting the fun back into food. I struggled when I was younger with digestive issues and it kind of took the fun out of food. Everything became very serious and I wanted to bring some lightness into my world by making healthy baked treats that could be enjoyed guilt free.
Does coeliac disease solely motivate your passion for selling with special dietary requirements?
KW: Originally it did, however after starting the business I felt a duty to help people with other dietary requirements because I know how it feels not being able to eat certain foods. Obviously we can’t cater for all dietary requirements but we try our best to cater for a large majority with gluten and dairy free options.
What would you say to someone with a food allergy who has been told to simply avoid the foods they are allergic to?
KW: I remember feeling so devastated when I was told I couldn’t eat certain foods that I once enjoyed. However it’s just about adjusting and changing habits. We are also so lucky that everyone is aware of food allergies now and a large majority, if not all cafes and restaurants, are more than happy to cater for you.
If you could eat any snack, what would you choose?
KW: I love snacking on our raw donuts!! I don’t think I go a day without one.
Do you have a favourite Nodo donut flavour?
KW: Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake with Pistachio Crumb and the Strawberry Hazelnut – depending on my mood.
Were you nervous about starting a business with such a niche market?
KW: I went into this business with nothing but good intentions and a very positive attitude. I was very cautious during the recipe development phase and spent a long time perfecting the recipe so that it had broad appeal. You don’t have to have food allergies to enjoy our baked goods. In the product testing phase, I was careful not to minimise my market. My husband, Nick, would often play the role as taste tester.
How has your experience been being a woman in small business?
KW: This journey has been so empowering for me. I have met so many likeminded people and everyone has been nothing but supportive of me.
If you could speak to your former self two years ago – when you launched Nodo, what would you say to her?
KW: Don’t be fearful. When opening the first cafe I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t enjoy the process as much as I should have. It is by far the scariest thing I have ever done, but it’s also been the most fulfilling experience. In the opening of the newest store in the city, I was able to enjoy the process of making decisions for the store and didn’t fear these choices.
What kind of activities do you enjoy outside of work?
KW: Starting a business takes up a lot of time. I would love to say that I have mastered the work/life balance but at this stage I am still working on that… I find all my time is spent working in or on the business which I love so much, but I do try to get out and about and experience different cafes and restaurants. I also love catching up with friends and walking my beautiful boston terriers.
Clearly you’re passionate about healthy food, would you say that effects your life ‘philosophy’?
KW: Eating the right foods transformed my life for the better. Eating healthy is a lifestyle. I don’t believe in diets or calorie counting, just eating a balanced diet and enjoying treats guilt free.
Meeting Kate was such a pleasure; she is a warm and bright person who is clearly passionate about her business. She is hands on in the store, both out the front with customers and in the kitchen baking.
To discover how Kate makes her delicious donuts, and more about Nodo, check them out on the links below:
AUTHOR: Hannah Tate
IMAGES: courtesy of Hannah Tate