Featuring over 65 local and artisanal vendors, Gluten Free Garage is set to go down on Sunday May 1st at Artscape Wychwood Barns. As a returning media sponsor, we’ve loved seeing GFG grow over the last 5 years, and become not only the massively successful event that it is, but also a pillar in the GF community. A feast for all the senses, expect to hear inspiring speakers and sample a vast assortment of tasty offerings from sauces and pasta to baked goods, cheezes (HA!), dumplings and pickles – our mouths are already watering!

In anticipation of Toronto’s original gluten free pop-up marketplace, we’re profiling a handful of this year’s vendors we love. Jillian Leo is the co-creator of Wood & Water, and extremely passionate about creating healthy, delicious food and sharing that passion with others. She has worked in the food service industry for over 10 years and has completed both Vegetarian Culinary Arts and Vegetarian Cuisine courses at George Brown.

Tell us your story! When did you decide to start your business and how did the idea come about?

I guess my story starts with always being surrounded by delicious food. My dad is a chef and my mom is also a great cook. There was always cooking going on in our house and I’m sure that is what inspired my culinary journey.

The idea for Wood & Water came about through talks with my business partner Tim. I wanted to be making healthy, delicious food that there was a need for in stores and such. Raw desserts and Nut Cheezes were something I was passionate about and I love that they are equally healthy and delicious. We decided to push forward with the Tree Nut Cheeze and the reaction has been amazing!

What’s been the most exciting part about owning your own business? What’s been the most challenging?

I think the most exciting part for me is seeing how much people are enjoying the Cheezes and how they are using them. I love when people post different ways of using it in a meal or that they are sharing it with friends for a fancy wine and cheese night.

Most challenging would have to be all of the other things you have to keep up with when owning your own business (accounting, paper work, etc.). When you’re passionate about food, it’s hard to feel passionate about that kind of stuff. But it all feels good in the end because you’re working for yourself and it’s helping your business.

What can we expect from you at GFG?

Lots of Cheeze! We will be sampling and selling all 3 flavours of Cheeze and we will also have our Toasted Pumpkin Seed and Cranberry Cheeze Logs for sale.

What’s your favourite product that you make (at the moment, I’m sure it changes all the time) and why?

I think my favourite product that I make would have to be the Smoky Cheddar style Tree Nut Cheeze we do; it’s always a struggle not to eat it all while I’m making it.

I also really enjoy making the seasonal Cheezecakes. We always try to use whatever’s in seasonal, delicious local produce.


Enter to win a pair of tickets to Gluten Free Garage by tweeting:

“Hi @Shedoesthecity! Please send me to @glu10freegarage so I can indulge in all the yummy gf goodies!”

Winner will be announced on April 25th. Good luck!

Gluten Free Garage is Toronto’s original pop-up marketplace of all things deliciously gluten free, and it’s going down on Sunday May 1st! You can buy tix and check out the vendors HERE!