Our Story

Hope and Hustle

Our company began when my son was turning eighteen and transitioning to adulthood. He said he wanted to be a chef in restaurant. Initially, I giggled and told him, “No you like to eat at restaurants.” Then I realized, no of course, he’d want to cook. He started a gluten/casien free diet when he was a toddler. 18 years ago, no one knew what gluten free was, so I pulled him up on the kitchen island and we baked. Baking and cooking are process driven. You follow the steps and in the end, you get a yummy reward. It’s very satisfying work for him.

Being a chef would’ve been impossible. He wasn’t verbal enough to make it through an interview. If a restaurant would take a chance on him, he’d be relegated to the dishwasher.  He has an incredible palate and like most people on the spectrum amazing detail and process skills.  A dishwashing position would be a waste of his potential and most likely a disaster.

All parents want their children to grow to be happy fulfilled people.  My husband and I had to make career choices that paid the bills and supported the family.  When helping our children plan their futures, we stressed to want more than money. You want to do something interesting. You want to feel like you are doing is something useful. You want to feel like your work is needed, that need gives you a feeling that you are important. Your work adds to your self-worth.

To live the life you want to, to enjoy your work and feel validated is important for everyone but especially for someone with special needs. Work has to be enjoyable, otherwise it’s another tedious task in a world that doesn’t always make sense. So, with a lot of hope and hustle we decided to make his dream of being a chef a reality and give other people’ s children an opportunity for meaningful work as well . In this process, I’ve gained a few pounds and realized I hate frosting , but I’ve found meaningful work.


August 2000

Chef J is Diagnosed with Autism

Chef J is diagnosed with the autism spectrum disorder and his mom is searching to help his prognosis and implements a gluten and dairy free diet. Two weeks in, out of desperation, he sits on the kitchen counter and begins cooking something he could and would eat.

October 2001

His First Time at Disney World

Chef J's first trip to Walt Disney World. While at a restaurant, the chefs in their white coats would come to his table to take his order for a very special meal. They made an incredible impression on him.

March 2003

Chef J's Favorite Meal Discovered

Chef J announces his favorite meal is steak, baked potatoes, water without ice, and chocolate.

2001 - 2008

"Baking" Breaks

During his ABA program, Chef J takes "baking" breaks to use as reinforcements and prefers to go to Costco.


Making His Own Lunches

Chef J begins shopping for and making his own lunches using a George Foreman grill at his ABA Center. All of the RBT's are extremely jealous when smelling his lunches.


Week Nights Preparing Dinner

Chef J begins making dinner on week nights. (His mom does the dishes and still does at the bakery.)


Trip to IKEA

Chef J plans a family trip to Cincinnati, OH so they can visit an IKEA, where he spends the day checking the place out.

October 2016

Planning for the Future

Chef J's mom gathers his support team together to plan for his future. She asks him what he wants to do for his "man job", and he says he wants to be a chef in a restaurant.

January 2017

The First Step

Chef J's mom writes a business plan and starts applying to Farmer's Markets.

March 2017

Carmel Farmer's Market Convinced

Chef J's mom wonders with Carmel, Indiana's Farmer's Market if they need another gluten free bakery. This convinces them to allow Chef J and his mom to start selling at its events because they need more gluten free bakeries.

April 2017

Renting Space

Chef Joe provides his kitchen at 5280 Pantry for renting space and Chef J and his mom begin working.

Mother's Day 2017

Opening Day at the Carmel Farmer's Market

Opening Day at the Carmel Farmer's Market, and three employees managed to get four cookies to the table to sell.

July 4th, 2017

Making Progress

The business plan made for the first two years is completed, "No Label at the Table Food Company" selling at three Farmer's Markets, and online shipping begins.

October 2017

Planning a Store Front

Plans start for an on-store location.

March 16th, 2018

The Grand Opening

The on-location store opens with 13 employees on the autism spectrum.

January 1st, 2019

His Own Man

No more behavior plans for Chef J. He's a man, an executive chef, boss, and running his own kitchen.

May 2019

Help from His Little Brother

Chef J's little brother comes home from his first year of college and helps out in the store. He states Chef J is always smiling and talks a lot more, including bossing him around.

June 2019

A New Website under Construction

Employee number 15 builds a new website for "No Label at the Table Food Company".

Fall of 2019

Leaving for College

When the school year begins, three employees will leave for college.