Akin to so many free spirited and creative Coloradans, Allison Declercq is a self-proclaimed funky bread lady who simply wants to spread the word about gluten. In December 2020, Funky Flame established its very own loaf delivery service in Denver.
Contrary her current endeavors, Declercq started her career in the technology industry. But after a lot of traveling and soul searching, she decided to attend the San Francisco Baking Institute and spent about three years in the catering and event production industry, earning her culinary stripes.
Similar to other nomads relocating during the pandemic, Declercq traded her 10-year journey in California for a new life in the Mile High City. One of the first bakeries she ever worked in had a wood fire oven. The austerity of cooking on a stone hearth with simple ingredients touched her soul. It was a combination of the earthiness flavor that comes from a wood fire oven and the universal connection that bread has throughout various cultures that led to Funky Flame.
Unfamiliar to Denver and its neighborhoods, Declercq wasn’t in the position to launch a storefront. Instead, she ran across Fire Within located in Fort Collins that sells mobile wood fire ovens. While so many small shops and at-home bakeries have embraced the new delivery business model in Denver, Funky Flame uniquely launched a subscription service.
“Being a millennial, I wanted something that was easy and consistent,” Declercq said.
Offering a subscription-based business for bread wasn’t meant to take credit for a service that’s been around for ages like the timeworn milk man — it was rather an opportunity to feed people easily that have struggled with mobility during the pandemic.
Parallel to popular food services like Hello Fresh or Instacart, delivery times are set for specific days and each package is billed weekly.
“There’s no crazy terms and conditions. I work with small ancient grain farmers and this helps keep some consistency for them,” Declercq said.
Not only has she found her love for feeding people, but she’s also found passion in bread. As simple as it may sound, Declercq sees the real importance in all the nutrients it holds.
“Bread is the most nurturing thing for your body. I’m always fighting for gluten’s bad reputation. Using whole grains and milled locally, I keep as much nutritional value in each loaf as possible,” Declercq said.
While the wood fire oven inspires the Flame in the shop’s name, Funky comes into play with unique flavor fusions, bright colors and added nutritional ingredients. Some of the rustic breads include a turmeric roasted garlic, the hippie loaf—hemp hearts, pepitas, flax and black sesame seeds — a crunchy San Francisco sourdough and both regular and vegan buttermilk biscuits.
While bread is her specialty, the shop also bakes custom cakes, hosts private events serving wood fired pizzas and plans to attend future markets and pop ups. Subscribing to bread delivery may seem a bit extravagant for some but the support of this one local business creates a chain of further encouragement for Colorado-based farmers and millers.
Some of the funky bread lady’s preferred ways to indulge is by adding aioli and an egg to a toasted slice or creating breadcrumbs and croutons for future meals.
“Making toast is a special ritual for me. I get to slow down and add funky things to it. It’s such a personal experience, you can add herbs and butters. I lean savory with my toppings but sometimes I’ll add a nut butter or sweet potato tots,” Declercq said.
As for the future, Funky Flame is looking to expand the menu to incorporate some additional items like cookies and pastries when subscribed to the bread service. When it comes to operational plans, Declercq envisions her business in a communal gathering space where she can collaborate with other restaurants and chefs in Denver. But for now, remaining an online delivery service is feeding her funky flame and continuing her mission to make bread cool again.
Delivery days for Funky Flame are Tuesdays and Thursday. More information about the menu and subscription service can be found here.
All Photography By Adrienne Thomas