Sabine’s baked in success

Published on 5 August 2022

Sabine Klaus-Carter, a graduate of Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (DJCAD), has launched an award-winning business that develops ‘free from’ bread products.

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Originally from Germany, Sabine finished school when she was 19, but she always wanted to study art in the UK.

"I wanted to study in Scotland just from seeing it in pictures! I love the weather; I love the art and culture. I was delighted when I received an unconditional offer for Dundee, but I had never been to the city until I actually moved there to start uni!"

"Dundee really is like a village for students. My mum was obviously worried as I was a young girl coming by myself to study abroad, but I felt totally safe in Dundee and everything I needed was on the campus or nearby. It was such a wonderful place to be a student and be from another country."

Sabine enjoyed the Foundation Course that introduced her to all the different facets of making art. She chose the Time Based Art course as it allowed her to continue her performance artwork whilst learning a skill that gave her the opportunity to get into filmmaking. After she graduated, she trained as a broadcast technician in Edinburgh. She returned to the University to complete a Master of Science in Electronic Imaging before launching herself into a successful career in video production in Edinburgh under the name Creation Editor.

I set up Creation Editor as a limited company – and started working with quite a few big names such as British Gas and Edinburgh City Council. I was then shortlisted for Best Business by the Edinburgh Chamber.

Back then, I was a one-woman business working from my bedroom, whilst the other ones shortlisted were much larger like Edinburgh Airport and Edinburgh Castle."

The business continued to grow – Sabine got an office, her own staff, and established a reputation for high-quality corporate video production. She also continued to create her own performance art.

However, her life got turned upside down after her son Calvin was diagnosed with multiple severe food allergies. Born a happy, healthy baby, Calvin showed his first signs when he was three months old: he was constantly itchy, restless and unable to put on any weight. Doctors were unable to ascertain the cause, so Sabine flew to Germany to see a paediatrician when Calvin was six months old. Calvin was fed a recommended formula but he went into full anaphylaxis after one sip and had to receive lifesaving treatment.

“We had to stay in ICU and once Calvin was stable, we were invited to see an allergy specialist as they had an assumption his issues were allergy related. The specialist confirmed the diagnosis of food allergies and as I was still breast-feeding Calvin, I also had to cut allergens out of my diet – things like dairy and egg – which quickly made a difference; however, he was still having reactions thus I went with the help of a nutritionist onto a Total Elimination Diet (TED). It was a steep learning curve as we did not know much about allergies. Calvin’s list of foods that he reacted to became quite long and as a family, we decided to also cut those foods out of our diet to keep him safe and feel included at home."

On the TED, it was established that Calvin’s first three safe foods were chicken, broccoli and coconut. One of the things the family couldn’t have anymore was bread, thus Sabine was determined to create her own one out of coconut. A pure recipe inspired by how 'normal' bread is made, whilst also making something that is nourishing and supports good gut health. The result was a soft texture and mild flavour coconut flat bread roll that soon became a favourite amongst Calvin’s toddler friends and family. Practically as well as emotionally, the bread became a game-changer for Sabine’s family, as they finally had something that they could easily have as a safe food when out and about as well as making yummy sandwiches that they could share with friends.

The more Sabine learned about dietary restriction and after discussing it with her nutritionist, Cara Redpath, she found out that other people could benefit from her bread too. She decided that she wanted to help others by bringing her coconut flat bread rolls to market as a tasty, allergy-friendly, low carb and paleo bread alternative.

"I presented my coconut flat bread rolls for the first time to the public at the Allergy Show in London in 2018 and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I built up a mailing list of over 500 interested people in one weekend."

Sabine soft launched her brand Calvin’s Free From Foods during the pandemic online in July 2020. At the same time, she also started a regular health podcast with her nutritionist, Cara, in which they discuss health issues they come across through their work, clients and their own experiences.

Since then, Sabine and her business have won a number of accolades. In 2020, her coconut flat bread rolls received Highly Commended in Best Loaf 'Gluten-Free' category and were shortlisted for Best New Product in Food Matters Live. In 2021, they won Gold in the Bread category at the Free From Food Awards. Additionally, Sabine won Tiptree’s World Bread Awards Heroes for the work she does for foodbanks and Great British Entrepreneur for Food & Drink for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Through her own personal experience with Calvin, Sabine knows first-hand how important it is to eat well to support one’s body to reach optimum health no matter what one’s dietary restrictions are. Plus, it is vital to have food that helps with being socially included because food allergies can be very isolating... and what is better than sharing a tasty slice of bread with friends?

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