A Huddersfield woman has been inspired by her sister’s medical condition to open a takeaway with a difference.
Ruksana Khalid, 39, of Paddock, has opened GFQ Ltd at Chapel Hill to offer an entirely gluten-free and halal menu including pasta, curries, salads and chicken dishes all made from scratch on the premises using fresh ingredients.
She was inspired by the experiences of her sister Zenab Khalid, 28, who has a severe gluten allergy, which can leave her ill for weeks at a time if she inadvertently comes into contact with gluten.
Said Ruksana: “She is coeliac, but her condition is so severe she cannot even touch bread or walk down the supermarket bread aisle without getting poorly. If someone has had a sandwich, she can’t even shake hands or come into contact with them.”
Ruksana, who owns GFQ Ltd but continues to work as an asbestos analyst, said the premises at Chapel Hill had been empty for some time before she acquired it for the food business.
“The first stage was to get the premises and everything else fell into place,” she said.
“It used to be the Rank nightclub. The landlord converted it into 10 flats above with the shop below. We acquired the premises in October last year when it was an empty shell. Over six or seven months, we have installed new flooring and our equipment.”
Family members have rallied round to help get the business up and running – and it is already attracting positive comments on Facebook and regular customers from far and wide.
“We have had people from Edinburgh, Manchester, Hull, Castleford and Leeds,” said Ruksana. “One customer from Sheffield calls almost every week.”
She said GFQ was pitched at providing “reasonably-priced” food – despite the higher cost of buying in gluten-free ingredients compared to products containing gluten. “It’s not only about making a living,” said Ruksana. “It’s about providing a service for people.”
Ruksana said the takeaway was due to be audited by the charity Coeliac UK and in time it was hoped to franchise the business and open more sites around the country.
Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten. Symptoms of eating gluten include diarrhoea, stomach pains and lethargy. The symptoms may last from a few hours to a few days.