Gluten-free bakeries have been slowly gathering steam in Sydney over the last couple of years. But when Broadsheet recently visited Messy Spoon, a tiny wholefood kitchen and bakery in the backstreets of Surry Hills, there was more than just steam gathering on the scene. Torrential rain pounded the small corner site, but the small group of customers out front remained undeterred from picking up their vegan treats, which are also free from gluten and refined sugar, and made on-site by owner Lizzie Fiducia and her team.

Through big double doors, you can see them working in a small kitchen behind the counter. The set-up is modest, a world away from Fiducia’s time working in the high-octane kitchens where her journey with healthy eating began.

“As I got older, I really got stuck on the fact that I was a chef and had the most amazing access to all this produce, food and knowledge in cooking, yet we all ate so poorly,” she says. “We worked really long hours, never eating at the right times, just eating what we could get our hands on.”

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After working for six years in the kitchen at Michelin-starred UK hotel The Greyhound, and another six as a training and development chef for the Jamie’s Italian Group in the UK and Australia, she moved into recipe development for Women’s Weekly. But it was around the time she had her first child that she launched Messy Spoon, selling home-made, gut-friendly goods wholesale to cafes and restaurants in the eastern suburbs.

“I wasn’t about to start a business that loaded people with refined sugar and half-hearted ingredients and produce. I just couldn’t do it. I felt responsible as a chef to feed people the most nourishing food possible.”

It was also around this time that Fiducia was diagnosed with endometriosis, galvanising her shift to a healthier lifestyle.

“[The medical profession] don’t know much about it but the main [advice] was to stop eating gluten and sugar, and to stop drinking alcohol. All that seemed pretty obvious to me, but even though I wasn’t a coeliac, [eating] gluten-free was very important to me and my personal health.”

Fiducia’s home creations were so good that Orchard Street and Three Blue Ducks became early stockists, along with small neighbourhood eateries including Rocker in Bondi. With business taking off, Fiducia moved Messy Spoon out of her home kitchen to Surry Hills at the end of 2020.

Messy Spoon’s hero then (and now) is its “Good Gut Loaves”: door-stopping things made with sprouted Tasmanian quinoa, seeds, chickpea flour, arrowroot and extra-virgin olive oil. “My dad says I’m in the brick industry because they’re so heavy,” she says, laughing. “I was super proud of that, because the heavier they are, the more dense the nutrients.”

You can grab the entire range from the bakery – a slice of the fruit and nut is the perfect companion to a cup of tea, and savoury styles such as the sweet potato and chilli or caramelised onion should be dunked in curries or piled high with smashed avo. If (for some wild reason) you don't have an avo lying around, Messy Spoon does avo toast as a takeaway snack.

Banana and buckwheat bread is also available (grab it whole or toasted by the slice), as well as walnut and maple carrot cake, salted-pecan brownies, raw bliss balls and more. If any of these products say “needs a coffee” to you, there’s bottled cold brew by Room 10 chilling in the takeaway fridge.

Messy Spoon also does home delivery, which means you can order a bulk pack of bliss balls straight to the couch. With a very wet few months ahead, you just might have to.

Please note that Messy Spoon will be closed from 24 December 2022 until 4 January 2023.

Messy Spoon
4/2 Farnell Street, Surry Hills
0456 030 262

Mon & Wed 8.30am–midday
Tue & Thu 8.30am–4pm

This article was originally published on 2 November 2022. It has been updated to reflect summer 2022-2023 closures.