Love for wife leads to successful pasta business
A young man with a passion to make sure his wife can live a normal life complete with eating foods she loves has developed an intensely-delicious line of fresh-filled frozen pasta that tastes like the real thing; except it isn't made with gluten products.
John DePuma, 29, said his desire was to see his wife Gina enjoy one of her favorite meals.
"I never even considered gluten-free pasta until my wife was diagnosed with celiac disease," he said,
Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac disease is triggered by consumption of the protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the fingerlike villi of the small intestine. When the villi become damaged, the body is unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, which can lead to malnourishment.
DePuma is no stranger in the kitchen. He is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island with a degree in Culinary Arts. He has a decade of experience cooking. He has been sous chef at Tribeca Grill, N.Y. Union League Café in New Haven and L'escale in Greenwich
DePuma said he would experiment with gluten-free pasta at home trying to find the right combination.
"My wife loved it and urged me to start a business so others could enjoy it as well," he said.
"Last August I jumped into it but it took some time to get the license and I had to find a commercial kitchen to prepare the products," he said.
DePuma, who was raised in Orange now lives in New Haven with his wife. He found a restaurant, Gastronomique on High Street. where he works into the wee hours of the mornings. He said he uses the kitchen after the business closes for the evening.
He works full time in Greenwich, commutes home and then goes to work again.
Right now DePuma has perfected three handmade fresh frozen products. He has three products; wild mushroom ravioli, ricotta and spinach ravioli and three cheese ravioli.
The ravioli retails for $11 for 12 ounces and the tortellini retails for $13. He is also working on a gnocchi.
Each recipe makes a dozen packages which takes about three hours to make from start to finish.
"I want to do a whole line of frozen-filled pasta all gluten-free," DePuma said explaining that the majority of gluten-free products are canned, dried or microwavable and have little flavor.
"Nothing compares to what my husband has made. It's fresh and flavorful. It reminds me of when I was able to eat pasta. And it's not filling like pasta. You don't walk away from the table stuffed," Gina DePuma said.
DePuma pasta is available at Thyme and Season in Hamden, Foodworks 1 and Foodworks 2 in Guilford and Old Saybrook, Edge of the Woods in New Haven, Chamomile in Danbury and Garden of Light in Glastonbury. Additional information is available online at www.depumaspasta.com.