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Tara Black

We are a 100 per cent gluten-free company that produces fresh baked goods daily. Our mission is to feed people fantastic food that is safe and delicious and that you can share with those that don’t face the same digestive issues. You don’t have to go without great quality tasting food and nutrition just because you can’t eat wheat (gluten).

Tell us about yourself?

I started in the culinary world when I was 13 because I loved food (and still do). Since then, I have trained as a chef and a pastry chef. I have worked in all areas of the food industry cafes, catering, restaurants, hotels, bakeries, etc. When my family was quite young, I recognized that I wanted more time with my children than I was getting, so I decided to go into business for myself. It sounds counterintuitive, but it proved to be the only way I could guarantee that my family would receive the time from me that I felt was important, and I could stay active in my career.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

The same advice I keep giving myself. No plan is going to going to prepare you for what you couldn’t see coming. Resiliency is the most needed facet of being an entrepreneur. You need it to be creative in the moment and pivot. It also provides you with the scope to be kind to yourself and not shoulder ultimate responsibility for things and events completely out of your control. (Control is a big thing for most of us. I try not to hold on to control with a tight grip. More a light touch so that I am responsive but not reactionary)

What problem does your business solve?

We help people that have restrictions to their diets that affect their ability to really enjoy and celebrate their food. We are a 100 per cent gluten-free company dedicated to the safety of food developed and produced for our customers to delight in.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

We started over 14 years ago. At that time, the options in the gluten-free world were quite limiting and not overly enticing. We decided to focus on creating foods that were better than what was readily found in the market. Our products are designed primarily for those that are celiac and suffer from other auto-immune-related issues.

What is your magic sauce?

Honestly, we make things complicated, as we don’t use a master blend of gluten-free flour to mimic wheat products. We use over 26 different milled grains, grasses, seeds, etc. to achieve textures, nutrition, and flavours. This means no one product has the same ingredient profile because the quality of the singular product comes first. A cupcake should not taste like a bread product. A cookie should not taste like a pastry, etc.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

The team at Origin is excited to bring our products to people outside of Victoria, B.C. We are looking to expand our online store and ship our baked goods straight to customers’ doorsteps. Other expansion projects include distributing shelf-stable products to markets outside of Canada, i.e. Japan, the United States, and South Korea. As celiac disease and dietary needs are evolving regionally and globally, Origin wants to ensure that consumers have access to products that taste amazing but are also healthy in their ingredient profiles. Using clean sourcing and working with credible suppliers is key in this endeavour. However, this expansion into other markets will have to be developed over the course of the next couple of years as the company’s primary focus is investing in stabilizing after the effects of the pandemic.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The pandemic hit all industries, and our company is no exception. We have run into all of the same issues, loss of revenue but increased expense, labour shortages due to burnout, retirements, change of industry, etc., as well as ingredient shortages and significant price increases. We had to take on some significant debt in order to deal with the circumstances that the pandemic brought on.

How can people get involved?

We are really excited to reinvigorate our online store and start getting our products shipping off of Vancouver Island again, and looking to work with those that are skilled in how to adopt new marketing to new customers and broaden the awareness of our products. Visit our website at to see what it is that we do, and use to get in contact with us.