Area family is inspired to start a company focused on kids with dietary restrictions

Posted at 5:41 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 18:28:27-04

Fourteen-year-old Caleb Eganfrei knows his way around a kitchen. He's passionate about cooking, but the hobby developed out of necessity.

"A lot of the food I eat normally is food that not a lot of kids would enjoy, because it's not very normal," Caleb said.

When he was nine Caleb was diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and went on a restrictive diet. That meant certain foods were off the menu-- including grain, dairy, gluten and sugar.

"The problem was that there was no food in the market to buy for him, there was just very little," said Mom Cindy Frei.

That complication was the beginning of Caleb's Cooking Company, a start-up focused on nutritious food that kids want to eat.

"To provide food for children who are on special diets so that they have good, healthy, but also really fun food that they love to eat,” Cindy said. “So it's pizza, chicken nuggets, enchiladas."

ABC2 News got to see the Mexican-inspired meal being prepared. It's a simple recipe with organic, seasoned pork, tortillas made from red lentils, and black beans.

The freezer-ready foods meat the dietary restrictions for a wide range of auto-immune related disorders. Making meal time easier on mom, and letting kids be kids.

"At the beginning of the diet I would have to bring my own food to like birthday parties and stuff like that, and that was kind of embarrassing,” Caleb said. “But now that I have food that looks very similar to what people are eating, it's much easier to fit in socially."

Caleb's Cooking Company products are available now by mail order HERE, and possibly in your grocery store freezer aisle in future.

Caleb and his mom also started Caleb's Club, an online community for children to share experiences and support each other.