It's one thing to ride a wave of a current trend; it's a whole other thing entirely to be at the forefront of that wave literally leading the pack. That's how Kyra Bussanich of Kyra's Bake Shop fame became a modern pioneer.
Kyra's Bake Shop in downtown Lake Oswego is a completely gluten-free facility. But instead of catering only to people with special dietary needs, her bakery is insanely popular for people who are gluten... filled? Gluten full? Not gluten-free? We'll go with that. What I'm saying is her stuff is absolutely delicious and worth adding to your Mt. Hood Territory tour for a sweet treat, savory sandwich or to pick up a pie for Thanksgiving or Christmas whether you are gluten-free or not.
The bakery came about as a necessity for Kyra, who spent many years battling very serious stomach issues. Doctors had tried various treatments to no avail, leaving Kyra looking down the barrel of a very serious surgery for any hope of a normal life. She tried one last thing before going under the knife: cutting gluten from her diet. Before she knew it her condition drastically improved. "I started having more energy, I started being able to stand upright instead of being curled over in pain every day, I started sleeping better and being able to live life like a normal 20-year-old," she recalled.
It was a life changing revelation, but one that wasn't easy to live up to as finding gluten-free options was a bit like looking for a unicorn. "There was nothing out there when I first went gluten-free that was both safe for me to eat and tasted delicious." So in 2009 she decided to take matters into her own hands and open a fully gluten-free bakeshop in her home town of Lake Oswego.
"I really wanted this to be a community meeting place, somewhere people can come and have a coffee or a pasty or a sandwich and have fun," she said.
It wasn't long after opening her bakery that she made her first appearance on the hit Food Network show, Cupcake Wars.
"When I first applied it was mostly because I was frustrated with the competitors I was watching. I had a lot of friends and customers telling me I should apply so I finally grabbed my laptop and did the application and I said I want to be on Cupcake Wars because you've never had anyone who was gluten-free on the show, and I want to show that gluten-free cupcakes can kick butt."
Kick butt she did, as she won that episode. She then made a return journey and won that episode too. As well as a third appearance. And we may as well mention her fourth win too, the only competitor to ever win the show that many times. Each victory was done staying true to her gluten-free recipes, showing that not only can they hold their own, but they can be darn good as well.
Be sure to add Kyra's Bake Shop to your list of places to get some food during your next trip to Mt. Hood Territory. You, and your taste buds, will be glad you did.